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NEW RESEARCH ON DIVERSIFYING THE MUSIC EDUCATOR PIPELINE

Written by University of Maryland School of Music

The results of Kenneth Elpus’ latest research on racial inequity in music education may surprise you—racial and ethnic minorities are significantly underrepresented among music teacher licensure candidates, where 86 percent of the candidates identified as White, 7 percent Black, 2 percent Hispanic or Asian, and less than 1 percent were Native American/Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, or Multiracial.

The outcome of Elpus’ research is critical for identifying and addressing music education’s diversity problem.

“Many music educators have been concerned about what they see as the homogeneity of the teacher workforce for a while, but didn’t have the hard data to back their observations,” says Elpus. “If we don’t document the diversity problem, then no one will talk about it.”

Beyond the need for systematic changes to music teacher recruitment, Elpus calls for incumbent music teachers to improve their cross-cultural competency. Without sensitivity to the diverse cultural viewpoints in their classrooms, music educators will struggle to foster the important student-teacher connection that ultimately inspires the student to pursue a career in music education. 

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Date of Publication: 
11/16/15