NEW POLICY BRIEF REVEALS NEED TO SPECIFICALLY RETAIN TEACHERS OF COLOR, OPPORTUNITIES TO DO SO
July 27 (New York) – Despite mounting national concerns about teachers leaving the classroom, a significant majority (86%) of teachers intend to stay. However, teachers of color, who are already underrepresented in the classroom, are much less likely to report intending to stay (52%), according to a new report released today by Educators for Excellence and The Education Trust, both non-profit, non-partisan organizations.
“I feel a lot of stress as a person of color in my school building. I have an intense empathy for my students, so I try to be there for them in many ways, both inside and outside of school,” said Genelle Faulkner, a sixth grade science teacher in Boston, MA. “If I had more colleagues who looked like me and my students, the burden on me to be all things for all of my students would decrease.”
Teachers of color report wanting very different incentives to stay in the classroom; while the national sample of teachers believe higher salaries are the most likely incentive to keep teachers in the profession (78%), BIPOC teachers believe more leadership opportunities (41%) and more professional development and support (41%) are the better incentive.
“Teachers are the No.1 predictor of student success inside the classroom and it’s important for students to have teachers who share their lived experience,” said Eric Duncan, Assistant Director, Policy at The Education Trust. “This survey brings the voices of educators of color to the forefront, highlighting the steps that school and district leaders need to take to build a strong and diverse educator workforce.”
The report also highlights an additional external threat to retention of teachers of color—declining public school enrollment and the use of seniority-based lay-offs. As teachers of color are disproportionately represented among new teachers and in high-need schools, where lay-offs are more likely to occur, they are at particular risk of being laid-off in high numbers in the coming years. “It is imperative that district and union leaders across the country put policies in place to protect teachers of color from layoffs,” said Evan Stone, Co-Founder and Co-CEO for Educators for Excellence. “We cannot go backward and erase the important work that has been done to diversify the workforce and ensure students have teachers that share their lived experiences.”
Finally, the report highlights opportunities to improve retention of teachers of color at the district, state, and federal levels, including by modifying seniority-based lay-off policies to protect teachers of color, investing in the leadership pathways that teachers of color are seeking, and investing in high-retention pathways to teaching that traditionally serve higher numbers of teachers of color than do traditional preparation programs.
Designed by teachers for teachers, Voices from the Classroom 2022 was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 full-time public school teachers, plus an oversample of 300 BIPOC teachers. The sample reflects the nation’s district and charter public school teachers and aligns with key demographic variables of gender, race/ethnicity, age, and years of teaching experience. The poll was taken in January 2022 during the height of the Omicron variant outbreak of COVID-19. While teachers designed this survey, Gotham Research Group helped ensure it was valid and reliable.
About Educators for Excellence
Founded by public school teachers, Educators for Excellence is a growing movement of more than 33,000 educators, united around a common set of values and principles for improving student learning and elevating the teaching profession. We work together to identify issues that impact our schools, create solutions to these challenges, and advocate for policies and programs that give all students access to a quality education.
For more information, please visit e4e.org.
About The Education Trust
The Education Trust is a national nonprofit that works to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income families. Through our research and advocacy, Ed Trust supports efforts that expand excellence and equity in education from preschool through college; increase college access and completion, particularly for historically underserved students; engage diverse communities dedicated to education equity; and increase political and public will to act on equity issues.
Learn more about our work at www.EdTrust.org.