Recruitment & Retention

Policymakers Must Act to Diversify Teaching, Report Says

By Ross Brenneman — May 06, 2014 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Across all routes into teaching, policymakers need to improve their efforts to recruit and retain minorities, a new report says.

The recommendations from the Center for American Progress released this week seeks to remind policymakers at all levels that the teaching profession looks a bit too homogenous, though opportunities to remedy that abound.

“Despite the barriers in the educator pipeline, there is a great opportunity ahead: Targeted outreach to high-performing students of color with an interest in teaching opens the door to a more diverse teaching workforce—and a more effective one as well,” write authors Farah Z. Admad and Ulrich Boser.

The report compiles research from a variety of past studies and surveys to create a picture of why teachers of color don’t enter—or stay—in the profession.

The report also suggests, based on a past survey, that blacks avoid teaching due to prior negative experiences with teachers. That’s not necessarily hard to imagine, given the disparity in harsh discipline between white and minority students. The authors cite a “low regard” for the teaching profession which averts many potential candidates; that jibes with a recent survey from the group Third Way showing college students find teaching to be an “average profession” with low pay.

In addition, the report notes a number of barriers to entry, including within college admissions and licensing, that prevent minority teachers’ entrance into teaching.

The report focuses mostly on the dynamic of blacks within the teaching profession, but it’s also worth pointing out a glaring discrepancy for Asian-Americans: Despite having the best college enrollment rate of any group, including whites, only 3 percent of education majors were Asian. The authors acknowledge in the footnotes that making any statements about the Asian population within the teaching profession gets tricky, because by and large, there’s not a lot of good data that separates the term “Asian” into the many different ethnicities contained therein—Chinese, Japanese, Indian, etc. (This is actually the subject of a separate Center for American Progress study, released in March.)

States are not unaware of the problems with teacher diversity, and many have made efforts to address that gap in recruitment. But some researchers also point to retention as the primarily culprit; minority teachers tend to teach in more difficult schools, and thus are more likely to leave teaching. The CAP report touches on that area of difficulty, calling for better support of new minority teachers.

The authors say that in every area, though, the key is action.

“While there are many barriers for teachers of color, the upside is that we now know what those barriers are and where to intervene.”

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Recruitment & Retention Many Feared an Educator Exodus From the Pandemic. It Doesn't Seem to Have Happened. Yet.
A RAND Corporation survey of district leaders finds that predictions about principals and teachers fleeing their jobs haven't panned out.
5 min read
People form two lines in front of an Exit sign
Recruitment & Retention Schools Pay a High Price for Low Teacher Salaries
Teacher turnover rates are rising and more than half of teachers said a salary hike could persuade them to stay in the classroom longer.
4 min read
Conceptual image of salary.
Collage by Laura Baker/Education Week (Images: iStock/Getty)
Recruitment & Retention How 'Grow-Your-Own' Programs Are Helping Recruit Teachers of Color
Learn which strategies are working to recruit and support future teachers of color.
6 min read
Diverse team builds a geometric shapes structure together
Rudzhan Nagiev/iStock /Getty Images Plus
Recruitment & Retention Understaffed School District IT Departments Are a Big Problem. Here's One Way to Solve It
An Oregon district needed bilingual support staff to help Spanish-speaking families manage virtual learning. It didn't need to look far.
4 min read
A worker passes public school buses parked at a depot in Manchester, N.H., Monday, April 27, 2020. New Hampshire public school children continue to be taught with remote learning, while buildings are closed to students through the end of the academic year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In school districts across the country, buses sat idle through much of the past year. Some districts turned to bus drivers or other support staff to fill IT jobs.
Charles Krupa/AP