Focus Policy Blog


Bridging Academically Strong Students of Color with High Quality Teachers of Color

ImageThe recent report America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color published by the Center for American Progress discusses the issue of the teaching profession not reflecting students’ increasing diversity. Authors of the report examine ways to promote increased teacher diversity (especially highly effective diverse teachers).  There is a pipeline effect within the field of education that must be addressed regarding the achievement gap among students of color leading to the underrepresentation of minority teachers.  Key findings of the article are as follows:

  • The achievement gap among students of color decreases the flow of future highly qualified teachers of color because fewer students of color who are prepared to attend college than white students limits the opportunity for those students to become teachers.
  • Increasing teacher diversity will provide students of color with personal professional models of success
  • Minority teachers leave the profession at much higher rates than white teachers because of challenges like views that the profession is not valued, salaries fail to increase at rates comparable to other professions, and the work conditions are overly strenuous.

Proposed solutions for the federal government are to implement programs that both increase minority student achievement and promote high quality teacher training among diverse people, making teacher training affordable to minorities through grants, and encourage students who are academically strong to teach diverse students by offering incentives. On the state and district levels, it is necessary to provide students with scholarships that match the level of the program in which they are participating, to link 2-year with 4-year programs for students who are interested in education, to increase salary rates for the teaching profession to attract high quality teachers, and to support mentoring programs that encourage students of color to consider teaching.

Patrice Garnette, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, The George Washington University Law School