FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2023
Sumeet Bal, Director of Communications, 917-647-1952, sbal@
Hannah Esqueda Freeman, Communications Director, 559-367-7158, hannah@
Mariel Matze, Communications Manager, 650-380-1973, mmatze@
Education Equity Orgs Release First-Ever Community Informed Recs on Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Educators in California Schools
San Francisco Bay Area—Today, as we approach the end of the school year and appreciate educators for their dedication and commitment to California’s school children, Californians for Justice, The Education Trust-West, and Public Advocates, three civil rights organizations with a focus on education equity, released a first-of-its-kind community informed “Educator Diversity Policy Roadmap.” The guide offers recommendations to the state and districts on recruiting, hiring, and retaining diverse educators to reflect the myriad identities of California’s student communities.
“Post-pandemic, we’re continuing to see rising shortages of fully-prepared educators set against historic levels of chronic absenteeism and anxiety among our students of color. Now is not the time to shirk from doubling-down on increasing the supply of diverse and prepared educators,” said John Affeldt, Managing Attorney and Director of Education Equity at Public Advocates. “This roadmap lays out six smart, community-informed strategies for the state and districts to pursue, short and long-term, to get our educator workforce where it needs to be.”
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated educator retirements across the country. As a result, California, like much of the nation, is facing a growing educator shortage. But while the urgency to address this shortage is clear, it must be done so thoughtfully to ensure that new educators who are recruited into classrooms are fully prepared, supported to stay in the profession through hiring and retention investments, and reflective of the diversity in their classrooms. Recommendations from the report include:
Increased educator compensation
Improved student-to-educator pathways
Financial support for teacher candidates
Using data to set goals and track progress
Engaging students and families during hiring and feedback
Fostering safer and supportive school climates
“What’s different about this roadmap is that it’s calling for a stronger role for the state to play in helping to diversify the teaching profession,” said Dr. Christopher J. Nellum, Executive Director at the Education Trust-West. “The state can’t pass on its responsibility in ensuring districts have sufficient resources and support to address all the things that teachers need. Continuing to attribute this as an issue of local control is part of why teachers in Oakland and across the state, for example, wind up going on strike nearly every year leading to students missing out on valuable instruction.”
Based on recent data, 78% of students in the Golden State are students of color, but more than half of the educator workforce is white. Research shows that all students exposed to a diverse educator workforce experience social-emotional benefits, academic improvement, more innovation, and a reduction in implicit bias inside and outside of the classroom.
Dr. Mauro Sifuentes, Co-Executive Director of Californians for Justice emphasizes that “this roadmap is directly informed by students, who have some of the most important perspectives on the issue of educator diversity. The success of Black and Brown students depends on the recruitment and retention of diverse educators. Black and Brown students want and need educators who reflect and understand their experiences. With the historic levels of investment in California public education set to expire in the years to come, we must continue investing in educators at levels equal to what is asked of them.”
Californians for Justice is a statewide youth-powered organization fighting for racial justice in education through organizing young people in Oakland, San Jose, Fresno, and Long Beach. Californians for Justice believes that young people are the leaders we need to create the healthy, just, and vibrant schools that all of our communities deserve.
The Education Trust–West (Ed Trust–West) is committed to advancing policies and practices to dismantle the racial and economic barriers embedded in the California education system. Through our research and advocacy, Ed Trust—West improves racial equity in education, engages diverse communities dedicated to education equity and justice, and increases political and public will to build an education system where students of color and multilingual learners, especially those experiencing poverty, will thrive.
Public Advocates Inc. is a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy and achieving tangible legal victories advancing education, housing, transportation equity, and climate justice. We spur change through collaboration with grassroots groups representing low-income communities, people of color, and immigrants, combined with strategic policy reform, media advocacy and litigation, “making rights real” across California since 1971.