Colleges of Education: A National Portrait

AACTE Issue Brief Provides New Information on Student Diversity at U.S. Colleges of Education

One of the most striking findings of AACTE’s signature report, Colleges of Education: A National Portrait, is the lack of diversity among education students, particularly at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.

Education Students and Diversity: A Review of New Evidence draws from of a recently released U.S. Department of Education survey to examine the personal, family, and socioeconomic characteristics of students working toward bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, to compare these students to the general student population, and to identify key differences by race/ethnicity. These data provide valuable insights for schools, colleges, and departments of education, and may prompt leaders in these programs to conduct similar analyses of their own student populations.

This report is available now to members and can be accessed here.

Report author Jacqueline E. King presented a free webinar for AACTE members, which can be viewed here.


Colleges of Education: A National Portrait (2018) provides a comprehensive picture of colleges of education: the work that they do, the people who do that work, and the students they serve. Because teacher preparation is so important, it describes in detail the key trends and challenges in meeting the nation’s need for highly skilled teachers. The report also portrays the full spectrum of undergraduate and graduate programs, research, and service that occur within schools, colleges, and departments of education.

The report, an exclusive AACTE member benefit, highlights several key themes:

  • Colleges of education reflect the scope and scale of education in the United States and make significant contributions to the American system of education through teaching, research, and service.
  • Enrollment declines challenge colleges of education to meet the needs of America’s schools, especially in key fields such as math, science, and special education.
  • Despite considerable efforts to recruit and retain diverse students, those preparing to become PK-12 educators are not as diverse as the schools and students they will serve.
  • An expected wave of faculty retirements will present both challenges and opportunities as colleges of education evolve to meet the needs of new generations of aspiring educators and of the changing schools and other educational organizations where they will work.

The report is a valuable reference document for anyone needing to understand the history and current state of colleges or education or to benchmark their own college or program against national trends.

About the Authors

Jacqueline E. King, Ph.D., is an independent consultant who works with both PK-12 and higher education leaders to improve student outcomes. She has previously served as director of higher education for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and as assistant vice president for policy analysis at the American Council on Education.

Robert Hampel, Ph.D., is a professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware and a historian of education who also studies contemporary educational policy. His most recent book is Fast and Curious: A History of Shortcuts in American Education (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).

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