April 7, 2021
First-of-its-Kind Legislation to Diversify the Teaching Workforce Advances with Unanimous Assembly Education Committee Support
SACRAMENTO—New legislation designed to help support male educators of color and diversify the teaching workforce—sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and authored by Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson)—received unanimous approval from the California State Assembly Committee on Education today, accelerating efforts to create an educator workforce to better reflect the students it serves.
Assembly Bill (AB) 520, which will head to the Appropriations Committee next Wednesday, will establish the California Diversifying Teacher Grant Program, awarding $15 million in grants for school districts to provide one-time competitive grants that develop and implement new (or expand existing) programs that address a local need to develop the teacher workforce while emphasizing the retention of male teachers of color.
“When I talk to students, they tell me they want to learn from adults who look like them and have shared their life experiences. There is mounting research that tells us that teachers of color boost the academic performance of all students—but especially students of color. This includes improved reading and math test scores, improved graduation rates, and increases in aspirations to attend college,” Thurmond said. “We've long known that having teachers of color matters for students of color—but our public schools do not reflect this. We can and must do better if we want to dismantle the historic educational inequities in ways that can level the playing field for all students.”
“Student success is amplified when they are taught by teachers who reflect the diversity of those students. In addition to academic benefits, students of color experience social-emotional gains to having teachers who look like them, also lessening the likelihood of chronic absenteeism and suspension," Gipson said. "Assembly Bill 520 seeks to create a program that will prepare and invest in the recruitment and retention of a larger and diverse pool of teachers. It will assist California with addressing the racial and ethnic disparities that exist throughout the state, helping to reduce the equity gap.”
Men of color comprise less than 10 percent of California’s teaching force, with Black and Latinx men making up 1 percent and 2 percent of their peers. Data show that only one-third of teachers are non-white, even though students of color make up about three-quarters of California’s student population.
Statistics show that male teachers are leaving high-need schools when they do not have the support strategies in place to help develop their teaching skills. These strategies can include, but are not limited to, social and emotional learning, school climate, trauma support, and restorative justice.
Additionally, research shows that Black and Latinx educators feel that they're not valued and feel frustration at being expected to take on extra duties without compensation or even the necessary support systems. As a result, teachers of color give up their careers more often than white teachers do.
AB 520 will address retention problems by enhancing a school district’s ability to equip, cultivate, and bolster male teachers of color within its schools to effectively preserve teachers. Schools that foster an environment of professional learning are more likely to attract and retain teachers in high-need schools.
Schools that invest in retention strategies that cultivate success and professional learning are more likely to retain male teachers of color. By concentrating on the investment of teachers of color, California will address the racial and ethnic disparities that exist throughout the state, helping to reduce the equity gap.More information on AB 520 can be found in the bill analysis .
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100