Students of color who have teachers of a similar race/ethnicity, identity, and lived experience are less likely to be suspended and more likely to graduate high school, enroll in postsecondary education, and obtain a postsecondary degree and/or credential.
Yet, while 52 percent of students in the United States identify as people of color, nearly 80 percent of teachers are white, and 78 percent of principals are white. In fact, 40 percent of public schools don’t have a single teacher of color.
For the teacher workforce to mirror student demographics, we would need to add one million new teachers of color to our nation’s schools.
And we can’t talk about the educator diversity gap without also talking about leaders of color. We know that leaders of color provide more rigorous academic opportunities for students of color, while fostering school environments that are more supportive and sustainable for teachers of color, which also promotes better outcomes for Black and brown students. Yet, leaders of color are also grossly under-represented in our educator workforce.
These challenges are not new. There is, however, an opportunity for real change.
In February of 2021, The Hunt Institute and TNTP, together with EdTrust, MCEL, New Leaders, and Teach Plus, formed a coalition dedicated to eliminating the educator diversity gap by 2030. Individually, we have long worked to promote educator diversity. The events of the previous year, however, underscored the urgency of creating an educator workforce reflective of our students’ diversity, and we saw an opportunity to multiply our impact together.
Our goal is to grow the ranks of our nation’s teachers of color by one million in the next decade, and we are dedicated to creating the conditions to support that goal. To support teachers and students everywhere, we also aim to grow the ranks of our nation’s leaders of color by 30,000 in the next decade.
Of course, we are not alone in this space. Many others at the federal, state, and local levels continue to push for policies that ensure all students have access to excellent and diverse educators. We believe we can make the greatest impact together, and so we invite other organizations and individuals committed to this goal to join our Coalition.
As a first step, you can sign onto our open letter to Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona calling on him and the Biden-Harris administration to take action at the federal level.
In the coming months, our Steering Committee, in coordination with local and state-level partners, plans to begin implementing a three-pronged strategy to address the challenge at the federal, state, and community levels. As we do, we will provide updates to all Coalition members and invite them to consider ways this work can be most impactful, as well as how we can best work together in specific places.
We hope you will join us.