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Across the nation, the education profession faces persistent teacher shortages coupled with a diversity gap between educators and their students. The effects of COVID-19 on the diversification of the profession has further exacerbated the financial divide that pre-dated the pandemic, but now threatens the financial supports that prospective and current education students of color rely on to complete their preparation programs. Although we are witnessing a national response to the racial injustices our communities of color experience for simply living their lives, educators agree that they must be prepared to address these injustices in their classrooms and within their communities. AACTE continues to lead its members as they respond to these challenges with innovative solutions that support the preparation and retention of the nation’s educators, specifically investing in our educators of color.
Research increasingly shows that all students benefit from having a diverse educator. To ensure that every student can access the education that she, he, they need in order to thrive, and to have students learning from educators who look like them and share their lived experiences, AACTE members are embracing strategies to recruit and retain a racially and ethnically diverse educator candidate pool. While increasing the educator diversity in our schools is an imperative, creating successful diverse school communities necessitates faculty and staff professional development in the areas of culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogy and practices.
Select AACTE members featured within this Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Handbook share their strategies to diversify the profession: Strand I strategies focus on faculty and staff professional development to increase cultural competency, while Strand II strategies describe initiatives to recruit and retain a diverse educator workforce. AACTE encourages policymakers’ investment in the strategies
described within this Handbook given the significant positive impact the strategies have on the education workforce and the education of our PK-12 students. Investing in strengthening and transforming university-based preparation and ongoing professional development for educators is crucial to enhancing academic success for the nation’s learners.