U.S. Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos said minority students are getting an inferior education because of a lack of minority teachers.

Cavazos on Monday called the shortage a matter of "true urgency," pointing out that 30 percent of the nation's students are minorities, while only 13 percent of the educators are."Today, the person that takes roll and assigns work is usually an Anglo teacher, doing the best he can do," Cavazos said in the keynote address to the National Conference on Recruitment and Retention of Minority Students. "In the eyes of some minority students, knowledge and education are equated with whites, and perhaps minority students believe education belongs to one group or another," he said.

National Education Association President Mary Hatwood Futrell said earlier Monday that the minority student population is expected to increase in the 1990s as the number of minority teachers in public schools drops to 3 percent.

Futrell said a shortage of minority teachers will threaten the system because it deprives minority students of positive role models and "creates an educational deficit" for whites because it gives "them a distorted view of the world and valuable contact with teachers who offer dramatic proof that adversity can be overcome and that the American dream is not a myth."