The dearth of black teachers across the country is well-researched and extensively documented. Nationally, federal data shows more than eight out of 10 (81.9 percent) teachers are white, while fewer than one in 10 (6.8 percent) are black. These statistics stand in sharp contrast to student demographics in U.S. public schools, where 47 percent of children are white and 16 percent are black.

Until now, much of the policy debate on teacher diversity has centered on filling the pipeline—expanding the pool of black students graduating from college and entering the teaching profession.

But a new working paper from researchers at Northwestern University suggests the presence of an overlooked and particularly troubling obstacle to boosting the number of black educators: racial discrimination and bias in school-district hiring practices.

Getting a better grasp on the scope of the problem could be key to further refining hiring policies so that they ensure greater student success. And as Schanzenbach concluded, the gains would extend beyond classrooms and schools. “We'll also have a more just society.”

Read the full article on teacher diversity by Melinda D. Anderson at The Atlantic