US schools try to diversify mainly white teaching ranks

American schools try to diversity their mainly white teaching staffs; research shows benefits of minority teachers

WATERBURY, Conn. -- American schools are trying to diversity their mainly white teaching staffs as mounting research shows the benefits minority teachers can bestow on students.

Nationwide, more than half of the students in public schools are minorities. But the teaching force is still 80% white.

Democratic candidates for president in 2020 are bringing new attention to the gap. They have endorsed strategies to promote teacher diversity, including spending more on training programs and mentorships.

The school system in Waterbury, Connecticut, has been working to promote diversity in its teaching force following complaints from the NAACP. District leaders have been reaching out to minority communities and recruiting at historically black colleges and universities. But officials say there are significant challenges, including competition with other school districts.