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In the United States, more than half of public school students—but only about 20 percent of public school teachers—identify as people of color, according to a recent article in Time magazine. In addition, a 2020 study by Digital Promise found that the turnover rate is higher for teachers of color than white teachers, and it may be increasing.
These findings are concerning for many reasons, including their impact on student outcomes; researchers have found that a diverse teacher workforce benefits both students of color and white students. Research also underscores the importance of recruiting and retaining educators of color.
The following organizations are focused on getting more Black teachers in the classroom, as well as keeping them there.
National Center for Teacher Residencies’ Black Educators Initiative
According to its website, the National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) seeks to “disrupt historical educational inequities by advancing the teacher residency movement to prepare effective, diverse, and culturally responsive educators.”
The Black Educators Initiative plays a big role in this work.
Launched in 2019 with funding from a five-year $20 million grant, the Black Educators Initiative will ultimately “recruit, develop, and retain 750 new Black teachers through our national network of teacher residency partners,” according to NCTR’s website.
To date, the Black Educators Initiative investments have included
- Financial support for pre-service teachers, including scholarships, stipends, and emergency funds
- Increased induction support and continuous professional development for program graduates
- “Increased mentor stipends to attract experienced, effective teachers as mentors of Black residents”
- “Mental health and social-emotional learning supports, including contracting with Black therapists”
Center for Black Educator Development
The mission of the Center for Black Educator Development is “to ensure there will be equity in the recruiting, training, hiring, and retention of quality educators that reflect the cultural background and share common socio-political interests of the students they serve,” according to its website.
The organization, which was founded in June 2019, has a three-pronged vision:
- “All Black students will have consistent access to high-quality, same-race teachers throughout their PreK–12 experience.”
- “Teachers who do not share the same cultural backgrounds as their students will demonstrate high levels of expertise in cultural responsive practices and anti-discriminatory mindsets and habits.”
- “Professional learning, pipeline, policies, and pedagogy will be aligned to ensure greater educator diversity, cultural responsiveness, and improved student outcomes.”
The Center for Black Educator Development emphasizes both recruiting future educators and supporting current educators through teaching pathways and professional learning, respectively. The organization’s other key strategies to advance teacher diversity focus on cultural pedagogy and public policy.
Black Teacher Project
A program of the National Equity Project, the Black Teacher Project “is a program that sustains and develops Black teachers to lead and reimagine schools as communities of liberated learning,” according to its website.
By developing the leadership capacity of Black educators, the organization “ultimately strives to ensure more equitable processes and outcomes for students who will lead us to a just society.”
The Black Teacher Project offers three main programs:
- An 18-month Black Teacher Project Fellowship
- A five-session Black Teacher Design Lab
- Monthly virtual wellness events, ranging from exercise classes to workshops on navigating the job-search process
The organization’s founder and director, Micia Mosely, was recently interviewed for a KQED article titled “Retaining and Sustaining Black Teachers.”
For more information about the benefits of a diverse teacher workforce, as well as best practices for supporting Black educators, check out these articles:
- “How Racially Diverse Schools and Classrooms Can Benefit All Students”
- “Making a Difference: Men of Color as Teachers”
- “Reimagining the STEM Education Pipeline for Teachers of Color”
- “The Theoretical and Empirical Arguments for Diversifying the Teacher Workforce: A Review of the Evidence”
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