As Latinos and African Americans continue to dominate the classrooms in Texas public schools, the diversity of the teachers is not keeping up, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"Roughly a third of our teachers come from the two main minority groups, but more than 60% of our kids do," said Debbie Ratcliffe of the Texas Education Agency.
Since immigrant populations of all types have a tendency to be younger than the general population, classrooms are the first to experience demographic change. Even though Texas has been a 'minority majority' state for nearly a decade, meaning traditional minorities outpace Anglos in the total population, that has been the case in Texas schools since the early 1990s.
While Hispanics will not become the overall majority in the state's population for another twenty years, Hispanics already account for more than 50% of the students in the state's public schools.
Immigrant groups have always had more children and have been younger demographically than native populations. And, generally being poorer, first and second generation immigrants are far more likely to have their children in public school than Anglo families. Also, an Anglo child is far more likely than a majority child to attend, and graduate from college, a requirement to becoming a teacher in Texas.
Ratcliffe says obtaining a more diverse teacher pool is a goal of the TEA and of the state's independent school districts.
"We have one of the largest teaching populations in the country just because of our size," she said. "Our teachers are becoming a more diverse group, but we still don't quite match the ethnic makeup of the student population."
She says gender diversity is an issue too, especially in the elementary grades where the vast majority of teachers are women.
In many ways, the problem will work itself out over time, as Latinos become more likely to go on to college and as the larger population of young Latinos moves into the professional work force.