Why is it important for students of color to have teachers who look like them? And what is being done to promote workforce diversity?
A recent online article by the Urban Institute explored the issue of educator diversity. The article points out that the pipeline is tight because not enough students of color are going to or graduating from college. And not enough of those who do are majoring in education.
The article includes a great interactive tool that shows the gap between teacher and student diversity in every state and in major cities. In Oregon, according to the graphic, 29 percent of students and just 9 percent of teachers come from racial or ethnic minority backgrounds.
The Urban Institute article posits that the country needs to do more to support budding teachers of color—not just getting them into college, but getting them to graduate: “By expanding the pool of college graduates, we expand the pool of potential teachers. The pipeline to a teaching career starts well before college graduation—it starts with getting more black and Hispanic young people through high school and college.”
Improving teacher diversity in Oregon is a top priority. It is a fundamental part of educational equity, especially given research showing that students of color do better when they have teacher who share their race and ethnicity. Ultimately, learning from a diverse spectrum of people representing a wide range of experiences and ideas is critical for the education of every child.
Chalkboard’s TeachOregon initiative addressed this and other important issues of teacher preparation in Oregon. A particular focus was to improve the teacher pipeline by starting to engage students interested in teaching in middle and high school, support students through college and student teaching, and provide critical support and mentoring in their first years as classroom teachers. Many promising practices emerged from the three-year initiative and much more work needs to be done to close systemic gaps that create barriers for underrepresented students, and improve recruitment and retention practices to ensure divers new teachers are well supported.
- Student Success
- Equity and Diversity
- Educator Workforce