The Secret Behind Teacher Diversity

The Secret Behind Teacher Diversity

StudentsA move to increase minority college attendance and completion could be the key to greater minority representation in the teaching force, School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) Dean David Figlio wrote in the Brookings.com series “Evidence Speaks.”

Citing research by SESP alumna Constance Lindsay (PhD10) and coauthors Erica Blom and Alexandra Tilsley, Figlio outlined the economic and social benefits of a diverse teaching force but cautioned that increasing minority college attendance and completion rates won’t happen overnight.

In the meantime, policy leaders could experiment with new ideas, including, “establishing collaborations between school districts and historically black colleges and universities; establishing holistic human resources practices that take cultural backgrounds of applicants for teaching spots into account; and creating clusters and networks of newly hired minority teachers in particular schools who can then support one another,” Figlio wrote.

These ideas should be evaluated to see if they’re having the intended effects: a diverse and highly effective workforce, Figlio wrote.

“Correlation does not imply causation, however,” Figlio cautioned. “It would be important to use archival data to study the introduction of specific policies regarding teacher recruitment and retention to see whether these policies achieve more diverse teaching forces as a consequence — or whether diverse teaching forces achieved via these policies are more or less effective than are those otherwise observed.”

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 11/21/17