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Diversifying the Teaching Profession: How to Recruit and Retain Teachers of Color


"Research shows that teachers of color help close achievement gaps for students of color and are highly rated by students of all races--a fact that is all the more relevant in light of persistent gaps between students of color and students from low income families and their peers who are White or from more affluent families. Unfortunately, although more teachers of color are being recruited across the nation, the pace of increase is slow and attrition rates are high, leaving growing gaps between the demand for such teachers and the supply.

These are among the findings in this report by the Learning Policy Institute, which examines national data and recent research on the barriers teachers of color face to both entering and staying in the profession. It includes recommendations intended to help policymakers increase teacher workforce diversity--an especially important strategy to advance greater cultural understanding and to combat achievement gaps.

This report finds that while the population of teachers of color overall is growing, Black and Native American teachers are a declining share of the teacher workforce and the gap between the percentage of Latinx teachers and students is larger than for any other racial or ethnic group. The report also examines how the lack of diversity in the teaching workforce impacts students, and offers district and state policy solutions.

Increasing teacher diversity is a very important strategy for improving learning for students of color and for closing achievement gaps, the study finds. And, while White students also benefit by learning from teachers of color, the impact is especially significant for students of color, who have higher test scores, are more likely to graduate high school, and more likely to succeed in college when they have had teachers of color who serve as role models and support their attachment to school and learning. Students with racially diverse teachers also have fewer unexcused absences and are less likely to be chronically absent."