Silver Spring, Md. – The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has signed onto a letter, organized by the Association of American Educators Foundation, sent to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and leaders in Congress calling for their help in addressing the lack of teacher diversity in our nation’s classrooms. The letter, citing federal data and university studies, reports that 53 percent of public school students are children of color, while only 18 percent of teachers identify as a person of color. Studies reveal this disparity causes overall lower student achievement and outcomes, especially in populations of at-risk students and students of color.
The letter states, “We believe that increasing teacher diversity elevates the teaching profession and improves the lives and outcomes of all students,” and calls on all parties involved to play a role in addressing the problem. The letter volunteers the services of the undersigned organizations to help Congress and the Department of Education to determine how proposed regulations and legislation may increase or decrease teacher diversity.
India S. Meissel, NCSS President, said, “NCSS has made inclusiveness a strategic priority. We support this letter as an important effort to ensure that the teaching profession is inclusive and diverse. As a classroom teacher of 32 years, I have seen firsthand the positives that result from having a staff that mirrors the student population of the building.”
Lawrence M. Paska, NCSS Executive Director, said, “NCSS is pleased to join many education organizations in addressing this vital issue in American education. We believe our collective voice will ensure that our teaching workforce is best equipped to strengthen civic life.”
More than seventy-five education organizations representing teachers, preservice teachers, school counselors, education staff, principals, superintendents, charter school leaders, education reformers, tutors, and teacher educators have signed the letter. The list of signatories includes United Negro College Fund, National Network of State Teachers of the Year, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Diverse Charter Schools Coalition, Educators Rising, Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity, The Fellowship for Black Male Educators, National Association for Multicultural Education, National Council for the Social Studies, National Association of Special Education Teachers, Organization of American Historians, International Literacy Association, American Association for Employment in Education, Association of Teacher Educators, American Association of Physics Teachers, Kappa Delta Pi, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and Educators for Excellence.
Colin Sharkey, Executive Director of AAE Foundation and organizer of the project, stated, “We believe the collective effort of these signatories and other organizations committed to this issue will lead to solutions improving pathways for the next generation of educators and addressing issues of morale, training, and support disproportionately impacting teachers of color but too commonplace for all teachers.”
More information, including the full letter text, list of signatories, articles and studies cited in the letter, is available at aaeteachers.org/diversity.
Founded in 1921, National Council for the Social Studies is the largest professional association in the country devoted solely to social studies education. NCSS engages and supports educators in strengthening and advocating social studies. With members in all the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 35 countries, NCSS serves as an umbrella organization for elementary, secondary, and college teachers of history, civics, geography, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and law-related education. The NCSS membership represents K-12 classroom teachers, college and university faculty members, curriculum designers and specialists, social studies supervisors, and leaders in the various disciplines that constitute the social studies.
Media Contact: Lawrence M. Paska, Ph.D., Executive Director
National Council for the Social Studies