Creating a More Diverse Teacher Workforce

A new report outlines how the teacher workforce can become more diverse to adapt to changing demographics across the United States.

Creating a More Diverse Teacher Workforce

In the United States, 50 percent of students identify as being a person of color, while only 20 percent of teachers identify themselves as such, according to a U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics study.  Forty percent of public schools don't even have a single teacher of color.  A new report from the Council of Chief State School Officers looks to shift the paradigm to allow for more diversity in teaching and free flow of ideas that demonstrate culturally responsive practices.

CCSSO is working to develop "learner-ready teachers" on how able to model and develop in students the skills that they to succeed today including the ability to think critically and analytically and the understanding to the differing needs of their students. In March, CCSO launched the Diverse and Learner-Ready Teachers Initiative (DLRT) to increase the ethno-racial diversity of the teacher workforce and support future and current educators to effectively teach a diverse population of students.  The DLRT program is a network of ten states and over 30 national collaborating organizations to create system-level changes.

"States recognize that to be successful in this work they need to work towards a future where all students, regardless of race, experience teaching and learning with teachers of color during their PK12 schooling experience. This requires that states work in partnership with local education agencies and educator preparation providers through an equity lens to effectively address diversity gaps," according to the report.
In order to attract and prepare diverse and learner-ready teachers for the workforce, the report makes recommendations:

  1. Revise and enforce licensure standards and accompanying assessments to ensure a culturally responsive teacher workforce.
  2. Analyze and monitor teacher licensure requirements.
  3. Invest in multiple pathways into teaching to increase the ethno-racial diversity of the teacher workforce and retain teachers of color.
  4. Adopt and implement rigorous approval standards to assure that teacher preparation programs recruit candidates from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds and produce quality candidates of all backgrounds who are capable of demonstrating culturally responsive practices.

The report also makes recommendations to address working conditions and supports for teachers, especially for teachers of color:

  1. Annually and publicly report on multiple indicators of the diversity of the teacher workforce.
  2. Track and report on differential teacher retention and turnover rates.
  3. Dedicate federal funding to workforce diversity initiatives.
  4. Convene key stakeholders to analyze data and address diversity gaps where they exist.
  5. Ensure that culturally responsive practice is one of multiple measures included on teacher evaluations and that professional learning is required to improve practices.

The full report can be found here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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