In 2016 in 2016, the United States Department of Education released a report on the State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce. The report highlighted the critical necessity to diversify teacher education. With more than 50 percent of the pupils in public education being of race Teachers of color are not represented with approximately 18 percent (2016, US Dept. of Education.). Although the total number that has teachers who are of color increased somewhat over time, however, the number of Black teachers has decreased. This is significant because there are obvious benefits for every student when they are taught by teachers of color. There are also greater advantages if Black children are taught by Black instructors (2016, US Dept. of Education.). Furthermore, Black teachers tend to move to public schools in high-need areas of urbanization and tend to remain in the schools for longer. If we who are charged with improving the public education’s overall quality are serious about it, we should be deliberate about finding and keeping teachers of people of color. Dr. Katherine E. L. Norris
Answering the Call
In the last couple of months, Educator Preparation Programs (EPP) have responded to the need for programs and submitted applications for funding to expand the number of students of color who are enrolled in teachers’ education courses through developing Grow Your Own and Pipeline Programs across the nation. And I’m currently responding to a request for grants regarding an initiative called the Teacher Education Program at Howard University. When I get started to create the Grow Your Program, I have to stop and think about what happens when we have recruited, what? What’s the situation of the profession of teaching for that I am enlisting?
the Reverend the Reverend. Martin Luther King Jr. thought about it when the struggled to lead his people from segregation, he was merging the people of his community into an unburning house. While I observe this latest surge of recruitment of Black educators and other teachers of color in the teaching profession, while teachers are leaving their profession in mass numbers, that thought often resurfaces in my mind. I do not want us to be leading our students to an unburning house.
The State of the Teaching Profession
It’s hard to ignore the state that the professional teachers. Teachers have left the profession in unprecedented amounts, and fewer students are choosing to pursue teachers’ education to be their primary field. The 2020 pandemic helped expose the challenges facing teachers across the country while making new educational challenges both within the classroom and at the at-home. It also helped highlight the inequality that students in high-needs schools have to face when they enter our education systems. Most affected the most affected were Black as well as Brown students as well as students of low-income families. While the epidemic struck the education system, school districts faced an exodus from teaching positions, and schools struggled to ensure that every classroom is staffed with a qualified teacher in charge of it. Insufficiently staffed classrooms and schools hurt how education is delivered, and significantly impact students from diverse backgrounds.
In the midst of when Teacher Education Programs begin to extensively recruit candidates to diversify the pipeline for teacher education It is essential to have discussions and structures created for helping these teachers as they begin their journey into the realm of education. There’s much discussion on the process of recruitment and how to help students through matriculation to the time they graduate, however, what exactly are we doing to make sure that teachers are to be well-supported in their new roles as teachers, especially teachers who are at our schools with high needs? What is being done to improve the profession and to improve working conditions for teachers and staff?
It is crucial that when we hire teacher education majors into a field we love, we make sure that we are fully supporting them.
More than simply creating an engaging program that gives attention to teacher education programs or ticks off a box for diversity programs it is essential to consider the needs of students of color, both in the classroom and when they begin their careers. It is crucial to prepare for a profession in teaching that is rewarding and long-lasting. EPPs should ask themselves, what are how do our programs carry the culturally sensitive practices we have in the selection process as well as inside our schools.
When EPPs start these diverse teacher education pipelines The job isn’t finished when the students have graduated and become certified. It is necessary to keep track of the students throughout their initial days of school. In parallel, work must be carried out at the local level to provide guidance and establish policies to assure that our profession is protected and respected. How can we make sure that new teachers are enrolled in the public school system that is appropriately equipped? How can we make sure that new teachers are being mentored, and getting professional development opportunities during their initial years of teaching? Are our teacher education programs able to cooperate to advance the agenda of the increase in teacher pay and decrease in class sizes in certain districts with high needs?
Yes. Recruitment of a diverse workforce of teachers is vital however, the process does not stop there. Teacher educator programs that are well-designed are designed to actively help newly certified teachers when they begin their journey into teaching, while also working to alter the perception and practices surrounding the teaching profession to ensure that we remain focused on the need for higher salaries for teachers as well as smaller classes and more supportive and productive conditions to keep our top and brightest talent teacher educators.
Dr. Katherine E. L. Norris is Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Howard University. Her research has been focused on equity and diversity in education, as well as aa culturally sensitive home-school partnershipusing pictures in the classroom to promote social justice and expand the pipeline of teacher training.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service, The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce, Washington, D.C. 2016.
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