Welcome to the Profit of Education website. Continuing the conversation begun in the book Profit of Education, we discuss the latest economic evidence on education reform.

Education majors, teachers, and race

America has a much higher proportion of minority students than it does minority teachers. I’ve taken a look at one particular part of this issue: are minority students who major in education less likely than white students to become teachers? (A reminder when you look at the tables that the numbers might be different for students coming through alternative certification programs.)

At a first pass, the answer appears to be “clearly yes.” Here’s a table I put together tracking Class of 2008 ed majors the year after graduation.

Teaching by race 1 yearThe fraction of black students who became teachers is notably lower than the fraction of white students. The fraction of Hispanic students is even lower.

But a second look makes the answer rather less clear. Here’s the data for the Class of 1993, which was followed for 10 years. (Questions on race/ethnicity changed, so I’ve omitted the Hispanic category.)

Teaching by race 10 year

More black students than white students taught at some point. So in the long run, black ed majors are more likely to be teachers. This suggests that early career paths of potential teachers are different for white versus black students.

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