Efforts to Diversify Teaching Profession Not Keeping Pace With Needs

Teachers of color continue to be in high demand and short supply, says a new report from the Learning Policy Institute, and policy makers should put more weight behind promising practices to improve both recruitment and retention of teachers of color.

The report, authored by Desiree Carver-Thomas, finds the overall population of teachers of color is growing–but not keeping up with changes in student demographics. Latino/a teachers in particular are underrepresented in schools compared to students, Carver-Thomas reports.

The promising practices identified for policy makers to support include many that AACTE members are currently leading, from targeted recruitment and induction programs to residencies, grow-your-own initiatives, mentorship and financial assistance, and authentic performance assessments rather than multiple-choice tests.

The AACTE Holmes Program has been supporting culturally and linguistically diverse students since 1991 at the doctoral level, and in recent years has expanded to also include students pursuing careers in education at the master’s, bachelor’s, and high school levels. The mentorship, financial assistance, professional development, and other supports provided by participating institutions align strongly with the promising practices cited in the new report, serving to strengthen the pipeline of diverse educators at all levels.

The AACTE Black and Hispanic/Latino Male Teachers Initiative Networked Improvement Community (NIC), first initiated in 2014, is a learning collective of 10 institutions focused on developing and testing strategies to recruit and retain more male teachers of color. Using an improvement science approach that involves “learning by doing” to investigate pathways to address persistent problems of practice, the NIC embarked upon four cycles of rapid testing to investigate common strategies that can be successfully implemented across a variety of program and policy contexts. The analysis and findings from the NIC’s study will be reported in a paper later this year.

The Learning Policy Institute report was released at a briefing last month on Capitol Hill sponsored by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). A panel presentation featured Carver-Thomas along with Linda Darling-Hammond of the Learning Policy Institute, Jennifer Robinson of Montclair State University (NJ), and other educational equity advocates and legislative aides. (View a video of the briefing here: https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/event/diversifying-teacher-workforce-briefing.)

For more information, visit https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/diversifying-teaching-profession-report.

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