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Volume 26, Number 5
September/October 2010

New Teachers and the Culture Gap

Induction programs focus on reaching students from diverse backgrounds


As schools struggle to close the achievement gap, another gap has become a focus of induction programs for new teachers: the cultural gap that exists between many teachers and the students they are responsible for teaching.

Despite initiatives to increase the diversity of teachers in the United States, many do not share the same racial, ethnic, or cultural background as their students. According to the most recent figures available from the National Center for Education Statistics, 83 percent of teachers in U.S. public schools were white as of 2007–2008; while 56 percent of students were white, 21 percent were Hispanic, and 17 percent were black. Charter school teachers were only slightly more diverse: 73 percent were white, 12 percent were black, and 9 percent were Hispanic.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


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