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Askwith Education Forum

Askwith Essentials: Where Are All the Teachers of Color?

For the first time in U.S. history, a majority of children attending public schools are students of color. Most of these students, however, still don’t have teachers who look like them. Why does the teaching profession struggle to hire and retain educators of color? What are the costs of maintaining the status quo? What are the barriers to change? And what can be done to make the teaching profession more racially inclusive? A panel will explore these questions and consider how policy can close the imbalance.

Teachers of Color in America

  • In 2011, just 18 percent of teachers identified as teachers of color, up slightly from 15 percent in 2000. In the same time, the proportion of students of color has jumped from 35 percent to over half.
  • There is some evidence that suggests that student achievement increases when they learn from teachers of their own race/ethnicity.
  • Boston Public Schools aims to build its ranks of teachers of color by at least 35 percent; one quarter of new teachers were teachers of color in 2015.
  • Most programs arelocally focused, including The Fellowship, whose mission is to triple the number of black male educators in Philadelphia by 2015.


  • Nathan Gibbs-Bowling, 2016 National Teacher of the Year finalist; 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year; teacher, Lincoln High School, Tacoma, Washington
  • Emily Kalejs Qazilbash, Ed.M.’97, Ed.D.’09, assistant superintendent of human capital, Boston Public Schools
  • Estefania Rodriguez, Ed.M.’16, K-8 Social Studies, district instructional coach, Cambridge Public Schools, Massachusetts
  • Eric Shed, lecturer on education and director, Harvard Teacher Fellows Program, HGSE


Irvin Scott, Ed.M.’07, Ed.D.’11, senior lecturer on education, HGSE; former deputy director for K-12 Education, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Event details:

Wednesday, November 2, 5:30 p.m.

Askwith Hall, Longfellow Hall
13 Appian Way
Cambridge, MA, 02138

NOTE: Seating is first-come, first-seated.

Askwith Education Forum

Bringing innovators and influential leaders to the Harvard Graduate School of Education

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