As student populations continue to diversify, many states are struggling to close diversity gaps within their educator workforce. A recent resource from Educators for Excellence-Connecticut offers recommendations for recruiting and retaining teachers of color, as well as providing culturally relevant instruction for all students.
The educator-written policy paper describes a “vicious cycle” happening in many Connecticut classrooms: students of color aren’t exposed to enough teachers of color who can serve as positive role models, so these students do not see education as a viable career path. As a result, districts can’t recruit enough teachers of color for the next generation of educators.
To address these challenges, E4E-Connecticut educator members recommend the following strategies:
- Both teachers’ unions and districts should take action to ensure culturally relevant, standards-based teaching is integrated in curriculum and professional development.
- States should pilot teaching assistant programs for high school students of color. (Boston Public Schools’ High School to Teacher Program is mentioned as an example.)
- States should create incentives and supports to retain teachers of color, such as financial support to programs that demonstrate success in recruiting educators of color to teach in high-need schools or in shortage areas, or housing subsidies for educators in schools with the highest populations of the most vulnerable students.
In Tennessee, another recent report explores the challenges that teachers of color face and offers recommendations for providing better support. Based on findings from focus groups of teachers of color across the state, the Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance’s recommendations include creating affinity groups within districts and pairing new teachers of color with experienced mentors of color. Explore the full report here.
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