- Leaders in Cherry Creek School District No. 5, in Colorado, developed an educator career pathway for high school juniors and seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in education, The 74 reports. The program also aims to diversify the district's workforce to better reflect the demographic makeup of the student body.
- The program gives participants a feel for teaching by shadowing veteran primary school teachers and acting as paraeducators to younger students. The participants earn college credits that are accepted at in-state colleges and universities.
- The two-year-old program has been made up of 42% Black, Asian, Indigenous and Hispanic students — which far exceeds the district’s workforce, which 14% is people of color.
Districts around the nation are looking to develop workforces that more closely resemble their student bodies. That means recruiting more teachers of color, especially men. The California Compton Male Teachers of Color Network, for instance, supports this effort by building skills and developing confidence that allows them to seek leadership positions.
Since launching a program in 2019 to retain more male teachers of color a three-year, $250,000 grant, Compton Unified School District's graduation rate was 87.1% in 2019, up from 3.6% from the year before, according to state data. The racial mix of the 26,000-student district is 81.9% Hispanic.
Districts are attempting to support male teachers of color in many ways. For example, the Mississippi Association of Educators formed a weekly online meetup to support and encourage Black male teachers. Philadelphia’s The Fellowship: Black Male Educators for Social Justice and the BOND Project in Maryland help retain and recruit teachers of color. Both groups work to pique black students’ interest in the profession early and provide mentoring for new teachers.
Nationally, the majority of teachers are white women. In 2017-18, only 24% of public school teachers were men and only 11% of those taught at the elementary school level. Only 21% of teachers who taught in grades K-12 were a race other than white.
Despite efforts to diversify the workforce, teachers of color need on-going support. Strong induction and residency programs are helpful, but mentors are a critical component to retention. A 2018 report by the Brookings Institution suggests bonuses and other financial incentives help retain a diversified workforce.