Meeting workforce diversity requirements and demonstrating desirable representation by various races, ethnicities and backgrounds can make it feel like diversity is just a numbers game.
But diversity elevates education for everyone — as PeopleAdmin CEO Kermit Randa wrote in a recent Huffington Post op-ed, citing how for many decades, studies have shown that diversity benefits schools and students.
And though various diversity challenges persist today, many common obstacles can be overcome with relative ease if school leaders make simple adjustments to current recruiting tactics.
“We value diversity in our staff, but hiring the best candidate for the position is far and away our priority,” said Gabriel Park, chief financial officer at Equality Charter School in New York. “All things being equal, we take into account what a candidate brings to the table in terms of background and experience because our hope is that our school can match the diverse professional environment kids will be working in as adults.”
Many studies and publications have supported that students do benefit from attending schools with diverse workforces, including the Albert Shanker Institute’s The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education, published in 2015, which found:
- All students benefit from being educated by teachers from a variety of backgrounds, races and ethnic groups, as this experience prepares them to succeed in an increasingly diverse society
- Minority students profit from having teachers from their own racial and ethnic group to serve as academic role models
- Positive childhood exposure to individuals from a variety of races and ethnic groups can help reduce stereotypes and help promote cross-cultural social bonding
- Minority teachers tend to have higher academic expectations for minority students, which can result in students’ increased academic and social growth