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US teachers are nowhere near as diverse as their students; groups commit to turn that around

  • Teacher Diversity.JPEG

    Lyle Alderson, left, a former teacher, with his wife Jan Alderson, a high school science teacher, both of Overland Park, Kansas, and Kevin Gilbert, 42, of Ridgeland, Miss., right, a member-at-large on the National Education Association (NEA) executive committee and a former social studies teacher and coach, are interviewed in Washington on Thursday, May 1, 2014. Mrs. Alderson is a National Teacher Hall of Fame inductee. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (The Associated Press)

  • 57ef3fe578913311530f6a706700dc0e.jpg

    Kevin Gilbert, 42, of Ridgeland, Miss., a member-at-large on the National Education Association (NEA) executive committee and a former social studies teacher and coach, poses for a portrait in Washington on Thursday, May 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (The Associated Press)

New research shows that U.S. teachers are nowhere near as diverse as their students.

The diversity gap comes as the number of minority students in public schools is on the rise. Almost half the students in the public system are minorities.

Studies from the Center for American Progress and the National Education Association point out that only 18 percent of the teachers in the public school system are nonwhite.

The NEA, the Education Department, the American Federal of Teachers and others are committed to turning around those numbers.

Teachers and advocates say minority students can be helped by seeing successful teachers in the classroom.

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