AACTE Major Forum Explores Pathways Needed to Advance Diversity Through Recruitment, Retention Strategies
Over the past few years, AACTE has been leading efforts to advance teacher diversity in the education workforce through the establishment of the AACTE Black and Hispanic/Latino Male Teachers Initiative Networked Improvement Community (NIC) and the expansion of the AACTE Holmes Program. Both initiatives are dedicated to increasing the recruitment and retention of educators from historically underrepresented groups into the education profession. The NIC’s work is identifying and testing strategies to increase the recruitment and retention of Black, Hispanic, and Latino males in the teaching workforce, and the Holmes Program supports aspiring educators at various points in their education careers to enter teaching, administration, policy, and the professoriate.
At the AACTE 68th Annual Meeting, the Innovative Strategies to Recruit and Retain a Diverse Teaching Workforce major forum featured a panel representing both initiatives in a discussion of issues related to strengthening the development of aspiring educators and teacher candidates of color through recruitment and retention strategies and induction support.
The major forum panel was moderated by Travis Jackson Bristol of Stanford University (CA). Panelists from the Black and Hispanic/Latino Male Teachers Initiative NIC included Dorothea Anagnostopoulos, University of Connecticut; Maureen Gillette, Northeastern Illinois University; Denise Hardesty, Western Kentucky University; and Ernest Black, California State University, Fullerton. Representing the Holmes Program were Carolyn Hopp, University of Central Florida, and Holmes Scholars Council President Whitney Watkins, also of the University of Central Florida.
Questions offered to each of the panelists were centered on how to effectively provide incentives to potential educators to enter the profession and then stay and grow as professionals. Speakers discussed challenges faced by aspiring educators as they enter the profession, the critical value of developing strong mentoring programs and support networks for future educators of color, the advancement of training through culturally responsive practices, and the role school and community partners can play in facilitating a pipeline of recruitment, support, and induction for educators from underrepresented populations. Holmes Scholar Whitney Watkins concluded the forum by providing insight from her perspective as an aspiring educator about the supports students are seeking as they enter the education workforce.
The discussion emphasized the importance of developing initiatives that reflect the specific needs and experiences of future educators from historically underrepresented populations, and then facilitating these efforts through strong relationships with school and community partners. Panelists lent their perspectives on possible solutions and best practices that will result in stronger pipelines to support educators of color—pipelines built in collaboration among schools, universities, and communities that ultimately will support students from a changing demographic in classrooms across the nation.