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Diversifying the Teacher Workforce

The diversity of California’s current teacher population does not reflect its current student population. Diversifying California’s teacher population will have positive impacts on all students.

Currently in California, 23 percent of the student population is White, not Hispanic, while 63 percent of the teacher population is White. The largest percentage of students of color is Latino at 54 percent, while just 20 percent of teachers share that demographic. In addition, 73 percent of the teacher workforce in California is female (CalEdFacts, 2016–17 and 2017–18).

In a pluralistic and increasingly global society, a diverse educator workforce benefits all students and advances educational equity. “Regular exposure to and interactions with individuals from a variety of races and ethnic groups, especially during childhood, combat stereotypes, strengthen students’ abilities to become comfortable with peers from different backgrounds, reduce unconscious implicit biases inside and outside the classroom, and lead to innovative and greater social cohesion” (Warner & Duncan, 2019).

Diversity in the teaching workforce has specific benefits to students of color:

  • Teachers of color boost the academic performance of students of color, including improved reading and math test scores, improved graduation rates, and increases in aspirations to attend college.
  • Students of color and White students report having positive perceptions of their teachers of color, including feeling cared for and academically challenged.
  • Greater diversity of teachers may mitigate feelings of isolation, frustration, and fatigue that can contribute to individual teachers of color leaving the profession when they feel they are alone (Carver-Thomas, 2018).

New Resources for Workforce Diversification:

  • Report: How to Increase the Diversity of California’s Educator Workforce (PDF)
    • The State Superintendent of Public Instruction convened the California Department of Education’s (CDE) Educator Diversity Advisory Group. It’s purpose and charge was to provide recommendations on how the CDE can recruit, support, and retain teachers of color across California. The five recommendations made by the CDE Educator Diversity Advisory Group are detailed in the report.
    • This report is not exhaustive of all the work on diversifying the teacher workforce. The CDE will continue to work with organizations and other educational entities, including community colleges and teacher prep programs, both public and private, to continue this important effort.

Diversity Web Resources

The web pages linked below include strategies that are valuable for recruiting and retaining all teachers, but research has shown they are especially valuable for recruiting and retaining teachers of color. When applicable, links to research articles on the topics or to specific programs in California have been included.

Recruiting Teachers of Color

Retaining Teachers of Color

Equity Thought Leader Series

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond’s new Equity Thought Leader Series will highlight issues in California’s educational system pertaining to diversifying the teacher workforce and applying Asset-based Pedagogies to meet the needs of the diverse California student population.

Recorded Webinars

Diversifying the Teacher Workforce Series 2022

The CDE Diversifying the Teacher Workforce Series 2022 consists of three recorded webinars. The first webinar highlights key findings and recommendations from the CDE’s Educator Diversity Advisory Group. The second webinar describes how to braid federal and state funds to support diversification efforts. The final webinar presents diversification efforts throughout the state from members of the CDE’s Diversifying the Teacher Workforce Community of Practice.

How to Increase California’s Educator Workforce External link opens in new window or tab. (Video; 49:55)

Braiding Federal and State Funds External link opens in new window or tab. (Video; 56:16)

Statewide Diversification Efforts External link opens in new window or tab. (Video; 55:18)

Questions:   Teacher and Leader Policy Office | | 916-445-7331
Last Reviewed: Friday, October 13, 2023