The national need for eliminating the minority teacher shortage has left many schools scrambling for viable alternatives with no impactful solutions in sight. The alternatives range from local school programs to programs fostered by universities as well as local, state, and the federal government. Schools can eliminate the minority teacher shortage by ensuring that all students have beneficial memories and experiences that will motivate students to seek the education needed to become an educational professional.

The United States has maintained a teacher shortage list since 1990, indicating the subject areas that are in the greatest need of educational professionals. It appears that many teachers are leaving due to the recent school performance improvement initiatives such as standardized test tied to teacher evaluations, a reduction of collective bargaining rights, teachers who are forced to administer a large quantity of standardized test to students, inadequate school funding, as well as educators cautioning young adults to enter into the educational profession.

Educational institutions must take the brunt of the blame for the minority teacher shortage in respect to the other ways that students are discouraged from seeking an educational profession. This is especially true for Black and Hispanic students. When considering the academic and disciplinary achievements of Black and Hispanic students, it is understandable that the minority teacher shortage will remain problematic for decades.

For example, the academic progress for Black students has proven as a miserable experience. According National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), White students have outperformed Black students since 1972. Additionally, the school social climate for Blacks provides experiences that will continue to contribute to the minority teacher shortage.

The school to prison pipeline is another contributing factor to the minority teacher shortage. The “school-to-prison pipeline” refers to the policies and practices that move our nation’s schoolchildren, especially our most at-risk children, out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Schools contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline through their status as a failing school, zero tolerance policies, and policing the school hallways.  

  • Failing schools eventually prepare students for an economic status that is undesirable and unproductive.
  • The results of zero tolerance policies reveal that minority youth are disproportionately suspended and referred to court on school-related offenses. Black students are 2.6 times more likely to be suspended as White students. The overrepresentation of Black students is related to referral bias on the part of school officials and staff.
  • A student who is arrested in school is twice as likely not to graduate and four times as likely not to graduate, if he or she appears in court.

Solving the minority teacher shortage must begin with the experiences that Black and Hispanic students have in the classroom. Teachers must begin by shifting the perception that decades of discrimination, misinformation, and excessive disciplinary policies and practices has accomplished by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships. Positive relationships at schools and in the classroom are in many ways the prerequisites for effective learning and behavior. Students and teachers who are warm, compassionate, and friendly toward one another in the classroom have the potential to improve instruction and learning.

Promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships has benefits for students and teachers. Having positive and caring relationships in schools increases resilience and protects children from academic failure, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and destructive behavior and violence. Long-term teacher-student relationships result in increased teacher job satisfaction. Teachers who have positive feelings toward their students are more likely to have students reciprocate those positive feelings. Teachers who develop positive and personal relationships with students may prevent psychological development problems in their students. Students are more willing to develop positive relationships with teachers who tend to form close friendships with their students which help to eliminate the minority teacher shortage. 

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Author of:


  • Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships
  • Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
  • The Raccelerate Formula App
  • Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education
  • The Ultimate Guide to Classroom Racism Management

cultural diversity consultant      cultural diversity consultant      classroom management      cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant racism in schools

“Dr. Campbell did his part and now all we have to do is run with it.”
 ~ Tom Coleman ~
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Public Schools Superintendent of Schools


“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.

~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor

“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”

~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President

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