Diversifying the Educator Workforce

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We are immensely proud and excited to share this report with you. It represents more than the countless hours of research, discussion, idea generation, and deliberation; it also represents the deep and lifelong commitment to equity and anti-racism work on the part of the members of the task force that created it. We are humbled by their wisdom and inspired by their commitment.

Much has happened in the time since this task force first convened. Our plan was to convene the group of nearly three dozen teachers, administrators, school board members, and leaders from institutions of higher education, state education agencies, and non-profit organizations for a handful of meetings in order to develop a series of recommendations addressing a dire issue: the need for a more diverse educator workforce. We quickly became a community of advocates joined by the urgent call to ensure all students (and by extension, every community) benefit from a diverse educator workforce. The initial emphasis was on examining and proposing strategies for increasing the number of educators of color in our region’s schools. Our task force challenged us to broaden our thinking and ambition. The identities of educators—like the identities of their students—are beautifully multi-faceted. They are shaped by race, ethnicity, culture, heritage, and language, among other aspects of their identities. We invite you to consider and support diverse identities as we strive to create an educator workforce that better represents the students they will teach.

We are in the midst of a racial reckoning in our country. If the pandemic made the stark differences in terms of resources, access, and achievement among our students even more evident, the killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and so many other people of color compels us to confront and redress the systemic racism that plagues our social, political, financial, medical, and educational systems. We are heartened by the conversations about race taking place across the country, by the peaceful protests, by the demands for action, and by the efforts of so many education leaders to examine their beliefs and practices. Our hope is that you will find in our report ideas that will inform your thinking and practical recommendations to enact in your community.

We dedicate this work to all who dream of making a difference in the lives of those who learn in our region’s schools. Please know that you are not alone.

In solidarity,

Jess DeCarolis & Ventura Rodriguez

Co-Chairs, the NESSC Task Force on Diversifying the Educator Workforce

Increasing the Racial, Ethnic, and Linguistic Diversity of the Educator Workforce

This report is authored by the members of the New England Secondary School Consortium (NESSC) Task Force on Diversifying the Educator Workforce. The NESSC commissioned the task force, whose recommendations emerged over the course of six meetings taking place between October 2019 and May 2020. While each participating NESSC state education agency is committed to diversifying the educator workforce, the recommendations included in this report do not necessarily mean that they have the formal endorsement of the participating agencies.

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A Call to Action

A racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse educator workforce is vital to closing the inequitable gaps that persist between students of color and their White peers. But change doesn’t happen without courageous leaders who commit to the work. Below, you will meet a few such leaders. Then we invite you to join us on the journey to diversifying the educator workforce by sharing your voice, advocating for change, and sharing the insights and strategies put forth in this report with all the stakeholders in your own school community. 

Please note that auto-generated English subtitles are available for all videos. After choosing a video, click the “CC” icon along the bottom bar of the video player.

Table of Contents

This report—Increasing the Racial and Ethnic Diversity of the Educator Workforce—is broken up into the following five sections. We encourage you to read the report in full, but of particular importance are the grounding principles, the framework, and the strategies for leaders by sector. We suggest reading about the framework prior to the strategies for leaders, as the framework provides important context for all strategies developed by the task force.

Why Diversity Matters

A growing body of educational research demonstrates the positive impacts of teachers of color on short- and long-term academic outcomes of all students.

Grounding Principles

The following grounding principles are necessary and imperative for all educators and education stakeholders to embrace and uphold as foundational.

The Framework

Our framework illustrates the actions, or career-development phases, by which our education system must support and uplift racially diverse educators.

Strategies for Leaders

Courageous policymakers, state government leaders, building & district leaders, teacher leaders, community leaders, and higher ed leaders must take action. Here’s how.

Conclusion & Appendices

Here you will find our conclusion, the research that informed this report, our acknowledgements, a list of task force members, and a description of the task force process.

Don’t forget to watch the intro videos!

At the top of this page are powerful stories, ideas, and insights of task force members from across New England. If you haven’t watched these videos yet, return to the top of the page and meet some of the people who are leading this work.

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This report was produced and supported by