New Research: Hiring More Teachers of Color and Raising the Teacher Hiring Bar Not Mutually Exclusive

From The 74

By Caroline Phenicie

There are two vital but seemingly competing efforts afoot to remake the teaching profession in the U.S.: attracting more teachers of color and diversifying the teaching corps while also raising the rigor of those who start in the profession.

States and teacher preparation should do both, researchers with the liberal Center for American Progress argue in a report released earlier this month.

Having teachers of color is essential, given that studies have tied same-race teachers to better academic achievement among students and reduced discipline referrals. Black and Latino students are more likely to be identified as gifted by teachers of their own race.

At the same time they worried about diversifying teaching, policymakers and researchers have focused on turning it into a more selective profession, in an effort to boost American students’ falling international test scores as compared with those in other countries that make becoming a teacher more difficult.

“Many educators, policymakers, and other stakeholders worry that increasing selectivity may lead to a less racially diverse teacher workforce, as minority candidates generally score lower on many of the current selectivity metrics used by teacher preparation programs. Others maintain that the diversity gap will only continue to grow in the decades to come, even with a focus on the recruitment and retention of the current generation of prospective teachers,” the CAP researchers wrote.

The think tank also released new research Thursday highlighting the growing disparity between the number of students of color and the number of teachers, and held a panel discussion in Washington with educators focused on diversifying the profession.