A new report explores why teachers of color leave and what would help solve the turnover problem.
What's new at NCTR?
Associate Program Directors Sarah Cohen and Rosemary Baker have returned from California where they wrapped up the first California Residency Lab convening. The Lab brought together 18 programs and their partners for three days of learning in Hollywood. Sarah and Rosemary led sessions on building and sustaining partnerships during the convening’s second day.
East Harlem Teaching Residency founder Susan Gonzowitz wrote a first-person account about how her program uses culturally responsive pedagogy to develop teachers who are able to celebrate their students’ identities and help them navigate alienating spaces without compromising their well-being.
Advocating for your program is an important, but often overlooked, aspect of building a strong residency. A new resource from Future Edexamines the “science of advocacy” to draw 17 lessons about effective advocacy. This report, “A Little Opposition is a Good Thing and Other Lessons from the Science of Advocacy,” explores such questions as: What kind of goals should advocates aim for in campaigns? How does one recruit people to a cause? What does effective lobbying look like? And, what are the biggest mistakes to avoid in advocacy work?
‘If you listen, we will stay’
Recruiting people of color into the teaching profession only gets them into the building. Keeping them as teachers requires substantive change and intentional implementation of strategies that have proven successful elsewhere. A new report by Teach Plus and Ed Trust explores why teachers of color leave, what they believe would help solve the turnover problem, and what successful strategies exist that are bringing about change.
The report, titled “If You Listen, We Will Stay: Why Teachers of Color Leave and How to Disrupt Teacher Turnover,” gathered information through a combination of teacher focus groups and case studies in two districts and five schools on the East Coast and in the Midwest.
The report notes five key themes or challenges that contribute to high rates of turnover among teachers of color:
An antagonistic school culture
Too little autonomy
Unfavorable working conditions
The “high cost” of being a teacher of color
Schools and school leaders can address these challenges by having an intentional strategy around recruiting and placing teachers of color. “Districts cannot place teachers of color on an island, left to navigate the workforce without colleagues who have similar experiences and backgrounds,” the report states. “It’s simple: Teachers of color need people who look like them.” The authors also recommend pairing novice teachers of color with experienced mentors as one way to address several of these challenges.
States and school districts have a role to play as well. They can “disrupt toxic and repressive systems and replace them with welcoming, empowering, and racially affirming spaces for teachers of color.” Recommendations include:
Loan forgiveness, service scholarships, loan repayment incentives, and relocation incentives for new teachers
Collect and disaggregate data by race/ethnicity on teacher recruitment, hiring, and retention
Invest in strong, diverse leaders who are committed to positive working conditions for a diverse workforce.
Ensure that curriculum, learning environments, and work environments are inclusive and respectful of all racial and ethnic groups
“Simply put, schools cannot hire their way out of this issue,” the report states. “Without a dual focus on recruitment and retention, students across the country will continue to lack access to the diverse teaching workforce they deserve.”
The Sanford Teacher Award is accepting nominations for its 2020 prize. They are looking for teachers who continuously improve their practice and create interesting learning opportunities for their students; who build rapport by understanding their students' backgrounds; who use assessments to improve their understanding of students; and who give students confidence and voice. Nominations can be made here. One winner will be chosen from each state and will receive $10,000. One grand prize winner will receive $50,000.
Please note that the articles and events in the NCTR E-Blast do not reflect the opinions of our organization, but rather represent information that we believe will be relevant to you and your programs.