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Tamron Hall Google Plus Hangout Department of EducationRecognizing the huge disparity of African-American and Hispanic teachers in comparison to their students, the U.S. Department of Education intends to address this issue in a Google Hangout video chat Monday afternoon.

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Jim Shelton, the Department’s assistant deputy secretary for Innovation and Improvement, and David J. Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, will host the Hangout. Titled “Celebrating African-American Teachers in Our Classrooms,” the gentlemen will be joined by educators from around the country as they discuss the critical need to place competent teachers in schools where they’re most needed.

NBC News’ Tamron Hall (pictured) will serve as a moderator, and the chat takes place on the historic grounds of Howard University in Washington, D.C. Some of the topics to be discussed include class size, preparing students for college, and focusing on the needs of urban communities. This is the first of several events the Education Department will host in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, which starts Monday.

From a press release for today’s event:

Nationwide, more than 35 percent of public school students are African American or Hispanic, but less than 15 percent of teachers are Black or Latino, and less than 2 percent of our nation’s teachers are African-American males. The Obama Administration is committed to narrowing the achievement gap by ensuring that minority and low-income students are able to learn from a highly effective teacher. As part of the Race to the Top challenge, 17 states changed their laws to better support and prepare effective teachers. These new standards institute new methods of evaluation and compensation in an effort to improve teacher training and preparation.

To watch today’s Hangout live, tune in at 4:00 p.m. ET here.

You can watch the event at a later time after today’s live showing, here.

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