Research by scholars at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania has found that since the late 1980s there has been a huge surge in the number of teachers from underrepresented minority groups in the nation’s public schools. The data shows that over the past quarter-century the number of minority teachers has increased from 325,000 to 642,000. The data also shows that many of these minority teachers are in schools in districts with large numbers of minority students.
However, the research also showed that minority teachers, particularly at schools in high-poverty urban areas, are more likely to leave teaching than white teachers and those that teach in more affluent districts. Poor working conditions, including a lack of instructional autonomy, were found to contribute to the high turnover rate. The authors of the study conclude that “poor, high-minority urban schools that improve these working conditions will be far more likely to retain their minority teachers and to address these shortages.”