While the number of teachers of color in America has grown, that diversity has not kept pace with dramatic changes in the student population, despite research indicating that a diverse teacher workforce benefits students across the board. Schools and districts still face major hurdles when working to create and retain a teacher workforce that is reflective of the students they teach. As school leaders are currently tasked with preparing for educators and students to return safely to classrooms, they must also prioritize building up a diverse teacher workforce through intentional and sustainable efforts.
To explore what this all means in light of COVID-19, The 74 joined the Progressive Policy Institute’s Reinventing America’s Schools project to host a panel discussion led by PPI’s Curtis Valentine. On the panel were NCTQ President Kate Walsh; Brienne Bellavita, senior advocacy manager for the Walton Family Foundation and Walton Education Coalition; Daniel Helena, an educator for Alliance College-Ready Public Schools; and Sharif El-Mekki, CEO and founder of the Center for Black Educator Development.
The panel discussion, “Teacher Diversity in a Post-COVID World” highlighted what the panelists learned about teacher diversity efforts in their respective fields and offered advice for other public schools and districts.
“Diversity makes us all better human beings and there is a role model effect that cannot be overlooked,” Walsh said. “A strong workforce is a diverse workforce.”
Watch the full panel above.