Equity and Diversity by Design
April 18, 2019

A new brief by teachers in Illinois offers recommendations on recruiting and retaining teachers of color.

Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellows facilitated focus groups with educators of color across the state. The fellows set out to elicit information and research about teachers of color in Illinois, build consensus about what can be done to attract, retain, and develop teachers of color, and garner insights on their experiences about the intersection of race and education.

In Equity and Diversity by Design: Recommendations on Recruiting and Retaining Teachers of Color in Illinois, Teach Plus teachers share their findings and recommendations to support the expansion and retention of teachers of color in the state’s classrooms. They found that teachers of color report needing the following and suggested four recommendations to improve these areas.


  • Specialized supports that take into account their social-emotional well-being as they take on the “invisible tax” that most white teachers never experience.
  • Equitable access to leadership opportunities and upward mobility in the school systems they serve.
  • Adequate compensation that accounts for historical and ongoing racial wealth gaps and the additional unpaid work that teachers of color often perform in their schools.
  • Identity-based literacy in the workplace to reduce the extra “invisible tax” placed on teachers of color, and to improve working conditions for faculty and staff of color and the learning conditions for students of color.


  • Implement districtwide mentorship programs, diversity dialogues, and affinity groups that support teachers of color staying in the classroom.
  • Create pathways to leadership for teachers of color by providing leadership stipends, in-house leadership programs, and ongoing bias and critical race theory training for school administrators.
  • Provide fair and equitable compensation to make teaching a sustainable career path for all teachers.
  • Implement requirements to improve identity-based literacy on behalf of teachers and students of color in K-12 institutions, teacher licensure programs, and the Illinois State Board of Education.

Read the full policy brief here, and check out other PIE Network members working on educator diversity here.

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Eric Eagon

Eric is PIE Network's Senior Director, Educator Voice and Policy

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