As with any public endeavor, representation matters when it comes to the teaching profession. We asked Region 8 Comprehensive Center Technical Assistance Specialists Candace Kenyatta and Emir Davis, and Ohio State Coordinator Rose Buckley, for their recommendations to states about how to ensure the pipeline of educators is more representative of students they serve.
Candace Kenyatta: While we are still collecting data to understand the impacts of specific diversity-centered educator pipeline programs, there are a few specific practices with positive early indicators. These include creating programs that have strong mentorship and community-building components, ensuring adequate financial incentives to alleviate the cost burden associated with pursuing the career, and providing support to address known barriers to entry—including state licensing requirements. The single most important consideration for the design of any initiative is financial sustainability. Often supportive and initially successful practices have limited impact due to budget constraints or lack of sustainable funding. State education agencies (SEAs) and philanthropy can play a significant role in assisting institutions of higher education (IHEs) and local education agencies (LEAs) in creating sustainable initiatives that meet the needs of diverse teaching candidates.
Emir Davis: An adage for racecar drivers is, “Where the eyes go, the car goes.” State leaders should have a multi-year commitment with increasingly rigorous yearly targets. Set targets, keep score, and celebrate wins. Allocate sufficient resources to implement your strategy. For hiring managers, support the growth of mindset, skill, and motivations around diversifying the pool with job-embedded practice and coaching for individual school teams. Don’t be afraid to explicitly name the implicit biases, practices and mindsets that hinder the mission. Any support should include opportunities to coach managers on their jobs. Simply ensuring managers have knowledge about diversifying pipelines is not sufficient.
Rose Buckley: States can support their local districts by providing insight into the various options for not only recruiting educators that represent their communities but ensuring they are comprehensive in their efforts to retain teachers and allocate funding for equity. States must support districts in understanding that enhancing the diversity among their school staff is not THE plan for equity, but only a piece. Educators are more likely to be attracted to and stay in schools that take a systemic approach in efforts to examine and enhance policies and practices that create positive experiences and outcomes for all members of the school community. It is also important for school leaders to understand that diversity represents a variety of social identities and lived experiences and should engage in ongoing efforts to create inclusive, safe climates where all members are valued and feel as if they belong.
- Pipeline diversification initiatives need funding and financial sustainability to succeed.
- State leaders should make multi-year commitments with diversification targets to reach each year.
- Hiring managers should help school teams learn about the importance of a diverse pipeline of educators.
- States can provide support to local districts by providing not just recruitment assistance but also help with retention strategies.
- School leaders and administrators should engage in ongoing efforts to create welcoming spaces for everyone.