NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ1064154
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
The Need for More Teachers of Color
Vilson, José Luis
American Educator, v39 n2 p27-31 Sum 2015
José Luis Vilson is a blogger, speaker, and math teacher in New York City, where he has taught for 10 years. Parts of this article are drawn from his book "This Is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education." In this article he shares his concern for the lack of representation of black and Latino people, especially males, especially as teachers. He notes that while some work as principals and district administrators, others are third-party vendors, education lawyers, and professors in institutions of higher education. Effective (and ineffective) teachers often leave the classroom in favor of these occupations, further diminishing the numbers of male teachers of color in the classroom. While plenty of men do great work in administration, many use it as a stepping stone to stay in education without grounding themselves in the educational practice of the classroom. Vilson argues that to truly transform our education system and recruit and retain teachers of color, we must push multiple levers. One very important lever is ensuring the cultural competence of all educators. In October 2014, 11 civil rights groups ranging from the NAACP and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund to the National Urban League and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center came together to lay out a handful of reforms and principles that would help narrow achievement gaps and push education in America into the 21st century. One of these principles focused on professional competence. Vilson believes that professional competence and cultural competence go hand in hand, and that teachers do not just teach subject matter, they teach the students in front of them. Teachers sharing the same skin color and socioeconomic background as their students can serve as immediate models for success. With more teachers of color in buildings with students of color, administrators and teachers alike can turn to one another to foster a more inclusive school community and advocate for all children.
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A