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Minnesota students pay the price for a lack of diverse teachers

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Maria Le in Central Park Elementary.
Teacher Maria Le stands in the hallway of Central Park Elementary School in Roseville, Minn. on Tuesday, July 11, 2016. A child of immigrant parents, Le recognizes the importance of diversity in education, "we need to have teachers of color so students can see themselves in their education," she said.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Minnesota is facing a shortage of teachers of color as the student population continues to get more diverse. The Star Tribune recently did an analysis of Minnesota Department of Education records. It showed about 34 percent of K-12 students are kids of color, but when you look at the teachers in those classrooms, they're almost always white. Only five percent of Minnesota teachers are people of color, and that number isn't showing any sign of budging. 

MPR News' Angela Davis talked with two black educators about why diversity in teachers matters, and what can be done about it in Minnesota. 

Guests: Abdul Wright is the 2016 Minnesota Teacher of the Year and a language arts teacher at Best Academy in Minneapolis. 

Keith Mayes is a professor of African American and African Studies at the University of Minnesota.

 Use the audio player above to listen to the entire conversation.