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SHEEO Initiative Focuses on Practice at HBCUs to Increase Teacher Diversity

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As the nation’s classrooms become more diverse, research has demonstrated that developing a more diverse teaching workforce is imperative to meeting the needs of all students. Efforts are under way across the nation to identify successful strategies for increasing the recruitment and retention of teachers of color, especially men of color, into the education workforce. Organizations including AACTE and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) are among those leading such efforts.

At AACTE, this work includes the Black, Hispanic, and Latino Male Teacher Initiative Networked Improvement Community (NIC), the AACTE Holmes Program, and the Diversified Teaching Workforce: Recruitment and Retention Topical Action Group. Each of these initiatives is focused on increasing educator diversity by identifying and implementing practice that supports degree attainment and teacher certification. The NIC is currently developing a conceptual framework paper to highlight some of these strategies and plans to release the paper at the 2018 AACTE Annual Meeting.

Meanwhile SHEEO, an advocate for state policy leadership, is leading an initiative to highlight the role of educator preparation programs, particularly at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), in advancing states’ equity, college and career readiness, and degree attainment agendas. Project Pipeline Repair: Restoring Minority Male Participation and Persistence in Educator Preparation Programs, a multiyear, multistate, research-based initiative funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, emphasizes the need to diversify the teacher workforce, and the positive impact that such efforts will have on students of color, particularly males, as well as the intellectual and social development of White students.

The project addresses three goals:

  1. Support the capacity of HBCUs to increase the participation and persistence of males from communities of color in educator preparation programs
  2. Strengthen the pipeline of highly qualified males from communities of color to serve in low-wealth school districts
  3. Shift the narrative about the teaching profession to highlight its positive attributes

“To close existing equity gaps, we have to be willing to tackle difficult issues,” said SHEEO President Rob Anderson. “Our educator pipeline is one such issue – particularly as it pertains to preparing underrepresented student groups.”

Project Pipeline Repair endeavors to leverage the specific components that HBCU preparation programs offer, including culturally relevant curricula delivered by faculty with strong community ties and deep historical perspectives. Noting these attributes, policy makers, institutional leaders, and other stakeholders can look to HBCUs as guides for developing solutions to advance teacher diversity and address teacher shortages.

Institutions in four states are partnering for this initiative: University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Southern University and A&M College (LA), Alcorn State University (MS), and Claflin University (SC).

“We have a moral and economic responsibility to better educate all our students,” said Anderson. “It is our hope that working closely with these pilot campuses will result in policy recommendations that will be adopted by departments, campuses, and states to assure that more students achieve both academic and economic success.”

Learn more about Project Pipeline Repair here and here. Additional information about the history of HBCUs and their role in increasing teacher diversity can be found here.

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Amanda Lester

Director, Programs & Professional Learning, AACTE