Elementary and secondary public school teachers in the U.S. are considerably less racially and ethnically diverse as a group than their students. And while the share of Black, Hispanic, and Asian American teachers has increased in recent decades, it has not kept pace with the rapid growth in the racial and ethnic diversity of their students, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.
About eight-in-ten U.S. public school teachers identified as non-Hispanic White during the 2017-18 school year, the most recent year for which data is available. By comparison, 47% of all public elementary and secondary school students in the U.S. were White in 2018-19, according to the most recent data available. In that period, around a quarter of public school students were Hispanic, 15% were Black and 5% were Asian.
The share of White teachers has decreased about 8 percentage points since the 1987-88 school year (the earliest period with comparable data), when about 87% of teachers were White. Both the number and share of Hispanic and Asian teachers grew during that time span. While the number of Black teachers also has increased since the late ’80s, they have declined as a share of teachers overall.