- The Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC) Schools are among those recruiting former alumni to help diversify their teaching force, and they start early by giving graduating seniors a letter that invites them back to join the Alumni Teach Project once they earn bachelor’s degrees.
- The Hechinger Report writes PUC Schools, a network of 16 California charter schools that serve predominantly Latino student bodies, have started paying closer attention to diversifying their teacher workforce because of research that shows how important it can be for students to have teachers who look like them.
- Alumni make the perfect pipeline because not only do they look like their students, they have similar life experiences — and the Alumni Teach Project pairs them with mentors, sends them to Loyola Marymount University for a master’s degree centered on social justice and helps reduce turnover.
Schools face two major problems when it comes to diversifying the teaching force — finding a diverse group of teachers to hire and keeping them in the classroom for more than just a few years. A report from the Brookings Institute, released in August, revealed that the national teacher workforce likely won’t get much more diverse as far out as 2060, given college graduation rates of black and Latino students and the fact that so few of these students are choosing to go into teaching.
Homegrown initiatives can help with recruitment, but from there schools and districts have to focus on retention. Programs that support and mentor new teachers can help them become comfortable in the classroom and make it through the especially difficult first few years. From there, general working conditions are important. Aside from pay, teachers want to feel included in school decision-making, and they want to have the classroom resources they need to do their jobs.