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October 30, 2019

Supporting a Well-Prepared and Diverse Teacher Workforce

Hosted by the Learning Policy Institute, Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity, Center for American Progress, National Black Child Development Institute, Southern Education Foundation, Teach Plus, and UnidosUs, in conjunction with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Sponsored by the Offices of Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ)

Research Brief: Diversifying the Teaching Profession Through High-Retention Pathways

Join the conversation: #TeacherDiversity

Teachers of color help close achievement gaps for students of color, particularly in high-poverty environments, and all students benefit from having teachers of color who bring distinctive knowledge, experiences, and role modeling to the student body as a whole. Unfortunately, although more teachers of color are being recruited across the nation, the pace of increase is slow and attrition rates are high, leaving growing gaps between the demand for such teachers and the supply. While the percentage of students of color in public schools is 50%, teachers of color make up only 20% of the teacher workforce.

While current conditions in many states have contributed to widespread shortages of teachers across subject and geographic areas, teachers of color encounter unique barriers to entering the profession and to continuing to teach for the long haul. One of the key barriers to entering the profession is college affordability. Fortunately, a variety of federal and state programs, policies, and practices hold promise in supporting high-quality pathways into the profession including reducing the financial burden of postsecondary education so that teacher candidates can afford rigorous teacher preparation programs that provide the extensive clinical experiences that improve teacher effectiveness.

During this briefing speakers discussed the importance of a well-prepared and diverse teacher workforce, the impact of college affordability and student loan debt on creating a diverse teacher workforce, high-quality pathways into the profession, and federal and state policies that support a well-prepared and diverse teacher workforce.


  • LaNeá Austin, English Teacher / GATE Coordinator, Humanities and Arts Academy of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District and Teach Plus Policy Fellow
  • Desiree Carver-Thomas, Researcher and Policy Analyst, Learning Policy Institute
  • Amalia Chamorro, Associate Director of Education Policy, UnidosUS
  • Khalilah Harris, Managing Director for K-12 Education Policy, Center for American Progress
  • Cassandra Herring, Founder, President, and CEO, Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity
  • Mark Teoh, Senior National Director of Research and Knowledge, Teach Plus