Building a Racially Diverse Teaching Workforce

The Importance of Teaching Programs in HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions

There is clear evidence that a diverse teaching workforce is beneficial for all students—and particularly for students of color. Studies show that Black students perform better on standardized tests, have higher graduation rates, have improved attendance, and are suspended less frequently when they have at least one same-race teacher. A greater overall diversity in the teacher workforce may also help keep individual teachers of color from leaving the profession due to feelings of isolation or fatigue. Unfortunately, despite the many benefits of a more diverse workforce and an increasingly racially diverse student population, the teacher workforce is still overwhelmingly white. One way to increase the number of teachers of color is through supporting education programs at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). Historically Black colleges and minority-serving institutions such as Hispanic-serving institutions, and tribal colleges and universities produce significantly more teachers of color than other institutions of higher education.

The Center for American Progress is excited to host a virtual event with co-sponsors Learning Policy Institute and New America. The first conversation will discuss recent efforts to reauthorize and fund the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence grant program, which would provide funding for teacher preparation programs at HBCUs and MSIs and could also provide financial aid for prospective teachers of color. Following the initial conversation, a group of panelists will discuss the importance of these institutions in creating a racially diverse teacher workforce, how districts can partner with local HBCUs and MSIs to create a pipeline of racially diverse teacher candidates, and how COVID-19 affects these efforts in the coming school year.

Introductory Remarks:
Rep. Ruben Gallego, (D-AZ)

In conversation:
Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC), Founder and Co-Chair, Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus
Khalilah M. Harris, Managing Director, K-12 Education Policy, Center for American Progress

Panelists:
Desiree Carver-Thomas, Researcher and Policy Analyst, Learning Policy Institute
Dr. Belinda Bustos Flores, Associate Dean of Professional Preparation, Assessment, and Accreditation, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Leona Fowler, New York City Teacher, Educators for Excellence
Dr. Damara Hightower Mitchell, Vice President of Engagement and Partnerships, Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity

Moderator:
Bayliss Fiddiman, Senior Policy Analyst, K-12 Education, Center for American Progress