tntp

Why A Diverse Teacher Workforce Matters

Barr and TNTP discuss the critical role diverse educator workforces play in advancing equity and highlight a new funding opportunity for New England schools.

Across the country, teachers don’t look like the students they serve. While 53% of students in the United States identify as people of color, 80% of teachers are white, and 40% of public schools don’t have a single teacher of color. This imbalance holds true in New England and has far-reaching effects on student experiences.

Students have big goals for their lives, and they are far more likely to reach those goals with access to more teachers of color who hold high expectations and deliver engaging, developmentally-appropriate instruction. Research shows that a more diverse teacher workforce benefits all students—but especially students of color with more equitable outcomes. Students with teachers who share their race are less likely to be suspended, more likely to be referred to gifted and talented programs, and more likely to complete high school and go to college. And TNTP’s recent research shows that teachers of color have higher expectations for students of color, which correlates with more learning.

The teacher diversity gap is a complex problem with many causes and contributing factors, from recruitment and hiring processes, to certification processes which pose barriers, to school cultures that often fail to help teachers of color build long careers in the classroom. But there’s never been a more important moment to tackle this challenge. Educators, school leaders, parents, students, and advocates, including Barr’s partners, seek to transform education systems that have historically failed people of color, and issue urgent calls to meet our students’ needs.

The research on teacher diversity is clear: talented teachers of color support all students, and especially students of color, in meeting their goals and connecting with success after graduation.

At Barr, we believe that every student deserves a high-quality education, where they are known, challenged, and supported. TNTP has over 20 years of experience partnering with schools and educators to close achievement gaps, improve classroom instruction, and develop talented, diverse educator workforces. The research on teacher diversity is clear: talented teachers of color support all students, and especially students of color, in meeting their goals and connecting with success after graduation. We are excited to partner together to advance a more diverse and highly-skilled educator workforce in New England.

Previewing Talent Landscape Analysis Opportunity for New England Local Education Agencies (LEA’s)

To create more equitable experiences for students, school networks need long-term plans to attract, support, and retain teachers of color. That can only happen with a close look at their current talent systems and practices.

To support this work, the Barr Foundation is proud to preview a new initiative, in partnership with TNTP, to support a cohort of New England public schools (all governance structures) with a comprehensive analysis of their current teacher workforces. We will share a request for proposals later this summer with opportunities for potential applicants to learn more and connect with our teams with webinars and office hours in advance of proposal submission.

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Arlene Sukran

Guest Author Vice President Northeast TNTP

Kate Dobin

Senior Program Officer, Education