Minnesota Public Schools are facing the same challenge that many other schools have in closing the racial gap between teachers and students. The media, local activists, and parents will continue to blame schools for the academic failures of students of color unless the schools are able to transform form their teaching staff into a school that eliminates the gap. Schools will need to use alternative programming since the available pool of minority teaching staff is limited.

In the Minnesota public schools, about 34 percent of the K-12 students are nonwhite, while the teachers of color make up approximately 5 percent of the teachers. According to Paul Spies, who is a professor of the School of Urban Education at Metropolitan State University and co-founder of the Coalition to Increase Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers in Minnesota, “We’re going to be in a crisis for many years to come.” The difficulty with recruiting and retaining minority teachers is problematic for Minnesota Schools as well as other school districts across the nation.

First, there is a low percentage of minorities who are attending educational institutions to become a certified teacher. The other problem is that the same challenges that students of color face with the school’s culture also becomes a challenge for minority teachers and they choose to leave rather than continue to endure the challenges with racism in schools. Schools must entertain the reasons why the school culture rejects minority teachers too.

Researchers report that the existence of minority teachers has a positive impact on students of color. A diverse teaching staff can help eliminate disproportionate discipline and help to close the achievement gap between students of color and their White students. Additionally, the perception of students of color shifts when students are matched with teachers who look like them. This results in and improvement in students’ perceptions and attitudes which improve graduation rates. An increase in graduations rates helps to create a safer environment since 72% of the crimes committed in the United States are committed by people who have not graduated from high school.

We cannot expect for White teachers to change the color of their skin. However, we can help teachers to transform the perceptions that students have regarding the intentions of White teachers. Students who perceive that teachers have favorable feelings toward them have higher achievement levels when teachers have positive views toward them. White teachers can transform student perceptions through promoting a positive school culture 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.

Furthermore, developing positive relationships with students provides benefits for schools, teachers, and students. 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 positive 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.  The racial gap between teachers and students can be closed by using a process that promotes a positive school environment by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships.

The first step teacher development. The teacher development modules include leadership, organizational transformation, cultural discourse,and planning development. The second step for closing the racial gap between teachers and students involves administrative training which includes modules related to leadership, culture and climate, discipline, and staff and students.

Related Articles

Minnesota schools struggle with widening racial gap between students and teachers

When It Comes To Discipline, Minnesota Schools Struggle With Racial Disparities

Black students who have one black teacher are more likely to go to college

All the best,

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

(856) 566-3267


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
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“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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