Not exactly earth shattering news – but the Center for American Progress has a new report that student loan debt adversely affects teacher diversity. Diversity does help student achievement as the point out but 82% of the current teaching workforce is white.
According to the report, 91% of African American and 82% of Hispanic/Latin students trained to teach had student debt compared to just 76% for White students. African American teachers had much higher student debt as well – $26,405 vs $13,662.
Retention of diverse teachers is less than white teachers as well. The theory of the report is that since the financial burden is so high, African American/Black and Hispanic/Latin teachers either cannot afford to take a teaching salary and pay back the loans or take the teaching salary and have to leave because of their student loans.
Note that alternative teacher certification programs like Teachers of Tomorrow, the cost is so much lower we actually see much higher levels of teacher diversity. In our program, only 54% of our teachers are white – much less than the national average.
Cost is most definitely a factor. And we would love to see teacher salaries increased so that student loans are no longer a factor in teacher diversity – but don’t forget about the great teachers that are coming in every day from programs like our!