American public schools reflect diversity only in their student populations, but not necessarily in their teaching force. Additionally, there are more than 460 languages are represented in U.S. classrooms. At present, students of color out-number non-Hispanic white students in K-12 classrooms, and it is estimated that one in four students is an immigrant or an English language learner.
Despite efforts to recruit and retain teachers of color, the teaching workforce remains predominantly white.
While students of color receive the greatest benefits of having teachers that look like them, diversity benefits everyone.
NEA is committed to recruiting, placing and retaining profession-ready teachers and supporting efforts to address shortage and lack of diversity. It is important to focus on the entire teaching continuum, starting with potential educators and teacher candidates.
The NEA Teacher Quality (TQ) department works to create retention strategies that support educators across the continuum in their professional practice to engage diverse students.
TQ promotes policy initiatives that encourage diversity, equity, and cultural competencies so that NEA members may effectively teach students from diverse, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds through:
- Communicating and participating in cross-departmental collaboration
- Meeting states need by providing research, training and assistance in their efforts
- Analyzing and monitor federal policy and emerging research and national trends
- Advocating for students, supporting efforts for teachers of color and culturally competent, profession-ready teachers