Supporting, Retaining, and Promoting Diverse Educators
Supporting racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse educators means ensuring that new teachers of color are assigned to and within schools equitably, and that schools and districts create effective systems to onboard, mentor, and support those teachers. States, schools, and districts must attend to inequitable pay and under-resourced schools, provide clear pathways for career advancement, and evaluate and promote educators equitably.
People of color disproportionately leave teaching. Inequitable pay, assignment to under-resourced schools, and working conditions that place additional burdens and responsibilities on teachers of color all play a role in retention. Black male teachers may find themselves assigned to discipline Black boys or shunted into assistant principal roles assigned to manage discipline. Other teachers of color on predominantly White teaching staffs may find themselves expected to speak for all people of color, join multiple committees to increase diversity, or advise clubs that involve students of color. Simultaneously, some teachers of color may feel pressure to take on leadership roles when they would prefer to focus on their classrooms, exacerbating the lack of teacher diversity, while teachers who do want to move into administration find pathways for career advancement to be unclear, unsupported, or limited to specific roles. When administrators of color do move into senior leadership roles, they may find themselves in charge of struggling districts and schools in which they are expected to achieve unrealistic goals in a short period of time, are evaluated harshly if they fail to meet those goals, and lose future opportunities as a result.
Strategies to address retention and advancement of racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse teachers include local, home-grown affinity groups that provide support, a sense of community, and mentorship. Similarly, states and districts can create and support programs that target the unique needs of administrators of color.
Strategies to Consider
The strategies listed here are applicable to all stakeholders. For role or system-specific recommendations, please return to the table of contents and select a role under “Strategies for Leaders to Consider by Sector.”
- Pass specific legislation with concrete goals for hiring superintendents of color with concrete accountability mechanisms.
- Create mentorship programs for aspiring educators and leaders of color.
- Examine the role that salary discrepancy plays in the recruitment, hiring, retention, and advancement of educators of color.
- Build the capacity of leaders to support, enhance, and create culture change, which creates buildings and communities where people want to work and want to stay.
- Require best practices (like affinity groups) through state or district policy.
- Build a website that serves as a hub for the region—such as Teach Connecticut—that provides personalized guidance for prospective educators, curates resources, connects educators, and promotes the spread of best practices across New England.
- Require induction and mentoring programs for educators of color and report annually on the participation of such programs by district.
- Launch a social media campaign that recognizes and celebrates the stories of racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse educators. These could include personal essays and video vignettes that explore the reasons for becoming a teacher or the journey to becoming one.
- Support the design and implementation of community engagement series to encourage reflecting on the past, voicing needs and concerns, informing action steps, etc.
- Establish a student voice or statewide student council to connect existing groups of students and bring all student school board members together in one convening, as a possible policy entry point.