Diversifying the Teacher WorkforceThe 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).
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.
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.