A growing number of Latinas are going into teaching, new research shows, and they’re having a positive impact on the country’s education system. According to Glenda Flores, an associate professor at the Department of Chicano/Latino Studies at UC Irvine, Latinas are the fastest-growing non-white group entering the educational profession.
In her book Latina Teachers: Creating Careers and Guarding Culture, Flores writes that the increase in Latinas in teaching comes from what’s known as the class ceiling. While the glass ceiling is a reference to the barriers placed on careers against women, the class ceiling is the career barrier placed on the less privileged.
Balancing familial obligations and social forces in class structure channel a greater number of Latinas into education and nursing than any other profession. Up to 18% of teachers in California are of Latinx descent, creating a more inclusive educational system since the 1980s.
This growing inclusion in the education system not only helps bridge language barriers that often exist between students and teachers but also helps lower barriers created by non-diverse teaching methods.
Mathematics, Flores points out, is just one instance in the American educational system affected by cultural barriers. The techniques taught to students in Mexico, Flores says, are different than those taught to students in the United States. Therefore, immigrant parents are more likely to struggle with helping their children with their homework.
Between 60% to 80% of private school teachers in the U.S. will have an advanced degree, yet many teachers are unaware of these cultural barriers with their students. However, Latina teachers are more likely to recognize these barriers and, as a result, are more open to using different methods in the classroom to improve student education.
Up to 52% of all students K-12 in California are Latinx. Additionally, up to 64% of California’s Hispanic population was born and raised in the Golden State. This significant percentage points to the growing need for bilingual teachers, bilingual education, and inclusive teaching methods.
In 1994 and 1998, California banned bilingual education and passed Proposition 187 to screen Californians for citizenship status before granting access public services. It was Proposition 58’s passing that only recently reinstated bilingual education.
The effect was beneficial. Up to 45% of California students speak a second language.
Therefore, Latinas aren’t only making gains for political inclusion with Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzmán becoming the first Latinas to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Latinas are also making gains for educational inclusion in the American classroom.