Seen, Heard, Reflected: A Look At California’s Teacher of Color Shortage
California has one of the most diverse, vibrant populations in the country, and our schools are no different. Three out of four California students, from transitional kindergarten through 12th grade, are students of color, but just one third of their teachers are people of color. As our communities continue to grow more diverse, we cannot afford to ignore this shortage of teachers of color any longer.
This isn’t just opinion. Study after study has revealed the benefits of teachers of color for all students. Our latest campaign, Seen, Heard, Reflected: A Look Into CA’s Teacher of Color Shortage, includes an exclusive infographic that sheds light on the growing racial and ethnic disparities between educators and students in our public school system. The findings highlighted in this infographic include:
- More than 250,000 California students are in schools without a teacher of their same race.
- More than 100,000 students attend a school where every teacher is White.
- More than half of schools in California don’t have a Black teacher.
Solutions to the Teacher of Color Shortage
Solutions to the teacher of color shortage in California’s TK-12 schools fall into five suggested categories:
- Recruiting more teachers of color
- Ensuring that teacher preparation is accessible and effective
- Providing mentors for new teachers of color
- Taking steps to retain the teachers of color in our schools
- Collecting data to continue to track this challenge
What You Can Do
Everyone in our communities can help increase the number of teachers of color instructing the next generation of leaders.
- Parents, teachers and student leaders can help by sharing this infographic to make sure everyone knows about the benefits we miss out on when we don’t have a teacher workforce that reflects our diverse communities.
- District leaders and school administration can create more opportunities for school staff like paraprofessionals and afterschool staff, who are already committed to student success, to get certified to teach.
- Teacher prep programs can make mentorship for new teachers of color a priority in order to increase retention and attract more teachers of color to the field.
- Teacher prep programs can also play a role in making sure teacher certification programs are not financially prohibitive–offer paid internships or fellowships, and ensure that aspiring teachers have access to evening instruction while they pursue certification.
- Policymakers can expand financial supports like student loan forgiveness and repayment incentives for teachers.
- Policymakers can also reduce unnecessary barriers to obtaining a teaching credential, including examining and eliminating gateway tests that are not predictive of teaching abilities.
Join the Conversation
Help us make sure California teachers and students of color are #SeenHeardReflected. Spread the word using the toolkit below:
- Black Minds Matter: Supporting the Educational Success of Black Children in California
- The Majority Report: Supporting the Success of Latino Students in California
- The STEM Teacher Drought: Cracks and Disparities in California’s Math and Science Teacher Pipeline
- The Education Trust: If You Listen, We Will Stay
- The Education Trust: Through Our Eyes: Perspectives and Reflections From Black Teachers
- The Education Trust: Our Stories, Our Struggles, Our Strengths
- The Education Trust–New York: The Educator Diversity Playbook
- TeachPLUS California: Celebrating and Preserving Diversity: Recommendations on Retaining Teachers of Color in California
- Learning Policy Institute: Diversifying the Teaching Profession: How to Recruit and Retain Teachers of Color
- The Added Value of Latinx and Black Teachers for Latinx and Black Students: Implications for Policy, Travis Bristol and Javier Martin-Fernandez
- Educators for Excellence: Reimagine, Represent: Strengthening Education Through Diversity
- Behind School Doors: The Impact of Hostile Racial Climates on Urban Teachers of Color, Rita Kohli
- Council of Chief State School Officers: A Vision and Guidance for a Diverse and Learner-Ready Teacher Workforce
- New America: Paving the Way for Latinx Teachers
- California State University: “Recruiting and Engaging Candidates of Color” webinar
- California County Superintendents Educational Services Association: “Policy Brief: Teacher Recruitment in California, Successful Strategies and Recommendations”