Can Minority-Serving Colleges Help Create a More-Diverse Teaching Force?

From Education Week

By Madeline Will

A disproportionate percentage of nonwhite teachers are prepared at schools that make up just 13 percent of all the teacher-preparation programs in the United States: minority-serving institutions.

That statistic should make the schools of education at minority-serving institutions, or MSIs—a term that encompasses historically black colleges and universities and other schools that serve predominately nonwhite populations—a major player in efforts to increase teacher diversity, educators say.

Only 20 percent of public school teachers are nonwhite, compared with over 50 percent of public school students. Thus, improving teacher diversity has been a growing area of national concern, with some states and districts also pledging to tackle the issue head on.

Yet the role of MSIs in contributing to a more-diverse teaching corps has largely been absent from the conversation, some educators and advocates say.

"The interesting thing is that 40 percent of students of color are educated at MSIs," said Marybeth Gasman, a professor of education at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and the director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions. "They are educating an enormous amount of people who could potentially be teachers. ... If we're not looking at them [as a solution], we really don't want to solve this problem."

To strengthen and grow these programs, the Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity has emerged as a hub for MSIs to connect, share resources, and receive support.