Issue

Teachers are the most important in-school factor that contributes to student learning. A strong and diverse teacher workforce positively contributes to student attendance, access to advance coursework, equitable discipline rates, and student academic achievement. Research shows that all students benefit from having a teacher of color, but students of color particularly thrive in classrooms led by teachers who share their racial and cultural background.

Unfortunately, in public schools across the country, students of color and students from low-income backgrounds face inequities in access and assignment to strong and diverse educators.

While students of color make up close to 50% of the K-12 public school student population, teachers of color make up less than 20% of the teacher population. The gaps in representation are particularly wide for Latino students: over 25% of US students are Latino/a, compared to few than 10% of teachers. Access is also an issue – 40% of the nation’s public schools do not have a single teacher of color on record and in many states, Black and Latino students attend schools without a single teacher who matches their race or ethnicity.

Students of color and students from low-income backgrounds also attend schools with larger percentages of uncertified and inexperienced teachers. Schools in the country that have enrollments with at least 80% students of color are four times more likely to employ uncertified teachers than those with enrollments of less than 10% of students of color. In those same schools, nearly one in every six teachers is just beginning his or her career, compared to one in every 10 teachers in schools with enrollments of less than 10% students of color.1 Given the importance of strong and diverse teacher workforces, students of color and students from low-income backgrounds are being severely underserved resulting in increased discipline referral rates, lower graduation rates, and less access to advance coursework and college and career ready educational opportunities.

The Education Trust works with a diverse range of partners to develop resources to inform state and local advocates and policymakers about the causes and potential solutions to inequitable access to a strong and diverse workforce. The resources are designed to help frame the problem with data analyses and research studies and provide promising practices of workforce policy initiatives from across the country. We have also engaged some of the nation’s best teachers to share their voices on ways states, districts, and schools can better train and support them.

Inequities in access to strong and diverse teachers for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds have persisted and are only growing stronger given the current public health crisis that has resulted in reduced budgets and fewer opportunities for in-person instruction. There must be a real urgency to address these current inequities before they grow and impact vulnerable student populations for years to come. Explore the resources below on teacher equity and diversity to help your state close its equity gaps.

Educator Equity Resources

Educator Diversity Resources

  • The Urgency of Anti-Racist Classrooms

    by Eric Duncan

    The deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month should be taught in social studies classes for many years to come. But the way it’s taught will be…

  • Teacher Diversity & Equity Policy Scan

    by Ed Trust

    Access to a racially and culturally diverse teacher workforce is beneficial for all P-12 students, particularly for students of color, who often thrive in clas…

  • If You Listen, We Will Stay

    by Davis Dixon and Ashley Griffin

    A majority of the nation’s public school students are students of color, but less than 20% of teachers are teachers of color — and only 2% are Black men.…

  • Our Stories, Our Struggles, Our Strengths

    by Ashley Griffin

    America is experiencing a diverse, cultural shift and the teacher workforce is lagging behind: While Latino students make up 25 percent of the U.S. student pop…

  • Through Our Eyes: Perspectives and Reflections From Black Teachers

    by Ashley Griffin and Hilary Tackie

    Federal, state, and district leaders have recognized the need to diversify the teaching workforce, and many are already working to recruit diverse teachers. Bu…

Educator Engagement Resources

  • Hidden Heroes: Building a Diverse Educator Workforce

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    In July 2019, Ed Trust gathered more than 70 educators of color from across the country in Baltimore to participate in our three-day convening, Hidden Heroes: …

  • Listening to Educators of Color

    by Eric Duncan and Simone Hardeman-Jones

    The Education Trust and E4E recently convened a small group of educators of color from across the country to hear about their experiences during the sudden shi…

  • Appreciating Teachers of Color

    by Eric Duncan

    Ever since Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) moved to online classes due to COVID-19, Keara Williams, a South L.A. high school teacher, has been call…

  • Why I Teach Where I Teach

    by Ed Trust

    Our "Why I Teach Where I Teach" series asks educators in high-need schools to share what has attracted (and kept) them in the challenging environments they’re …