Those who prepare future generations of classroom teachers are well-positioned to promote equity, inclusion, and social justice, but in doing so they must address two significant challenges.
First, they must adopt targeted recruitment strategies to ensure that all PK-12 schools have adequate pools of new teachers from which to choose. This, along with equally important efforts within the PK-12 community to reduce turnover of existing teachers, will eliminate the persistent shortages of well-qualified teachers that deprive many students, especially the most vulnerable ones, of a quality education. In addition to boosting enrollments, teacher educators must also ensure that their candidates resemble the demographics of the PK-12 students they will teach. Over time, this will close the widening diversity gap that exists between students and their teachers in many of the nation’s public schools. As research has shown, this will help close the achievement gap, reduce high school dropout rates, and lead more students to pursue college degrees.