- To address the gap caused by an expected 5,500 vacant teaching slots in Colorado, versus an expected 2,000 college graduates going into teaching, a coalition called TeachStrong has offered policy recommendations for increasing racial equity and retention among the state's teaching workforce.
- More teachers of color need to be trained and their jobs as teachers need better incentives, according to the coalition, with one recommendation being that "diverse, high-achieving high school students" should be aggressively recruited, Chalkbeat Colorado reports.
- Previously, Colorado's Education Department helped channel over a million dollars of grant money into teacher diversity efforts, yet critics say the state hasn't taken the issue seriously enough.
Colorado isn't alone in grappling with the problem of a teaching population that isn't racially representative of state's students. A report released this month from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Summit on Teacher Diversity said that fewer than 18% of elementary and secondary school teachers are individuals of color. The study, “The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce,” also noted that, in public schools, nearly half of students are individuals of color.
So what can states like Colorado do? To start, policymakers could take the suggestions presented by the TeachStrong coalition seriously, including working with historically black colleges and universities to recruit candidates. Prioritizing hiring teachers for low-income schools, which was also recommended, can also potentially help close achievement gaps, which are proven to be linked to class and race. According to Chalkbeat Colorado, TeachStrong is also active in other states, and has provided similar policy recommendations in Virginia, Nevada and North Carolina.