Number of teachers of color disproportionate to students of color in North Carolina

Thursday, July 23, 2020
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State data shows 54 percent of students are nonwhite, while only 22 percent of educators are.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- ABC11 uncovered minority teachers are underrepresented in North Carolina.

State data shows 54 percent of students are nonwhite, while only 22 percent of educators are.

LaTanya Pattillo is Gov. Roy Cooper's Teacher Advisor and heads up the governor's Teacher Advisory Committee. Pattillo has been advocating for more teachers of color.

"As our student demographics change, we need to consider the importance of representation," Pattillo said. "We need to consider the importance of the need for students, again, to not only see themselves reflected in the classroom, to provide them with opportunities, have some of those high expectations and to feel valued."

Darryl Bradshaw, 29, is a teacher at Hillside High School in Durham. He's one of less than 20 percent of teachers in the state who are Black or African American.

"With our school being over 90 percent African American, it is important for them to see an African American male or a teacher of color," Bradshaw said.

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Bradshaw and Pattillo said salary can deter some teachers of color from entering the profession.

"If you're looking at African American male or a male of color that's supposed to be a head of household, the income does not support the responsibilities and liabilities that males may have as a head of household," Bradshaw said.

Pattillo echoed his concerns.

"Salary is an issue across the board," Pattillo said. "It's an issue across the board for all teachers, particularly in communities of color where the economic disparities occur. And oftentimes, when you think about the willingness to take a position and embark on a profession that may not provide you with an opportunity to take care of your family, i's particularly concerning in communities of color because of the disparities in wealth."

Pattillo said both recruitment and retention are important.

"If you bring people in, it doesn't mean that they're going to feel included," Pattillo said. "It doesn't mean that they're going to feel supported."

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Pattillo said a possible solution to bring on more teachers of color is to offer economic incentives.

Bradshaw, who is working on getting his Master's degree, is also involved with Profound Gentlemen, a community of male educators of color with a vision of retaining educators.

Bradshaw said teachers of color can bring cultural relevancy and perspective into some topics they're teaching that can help students relate to them.

"The thing I love most is that I know that I'm doing my part in preparing our next generation to be the best that they can be," Bradshaw said. "I just want to make sure I can give my students a fair shot. I understand that their fair shot is not just going to come with the knowledge that they have within themselves. That fair shot is also going to come with the system changing."

RELATED: Prospective teachers more likely to view Black children as angry, study on implicit bias finds

Watch the Drive Summit video discussing teacher diversity and solutions here.