Teaching can feel isolating, especially for educators of color in our community since the demographics of our educator workforce does not currently mirror our community as a whole. Fortunately, many stakeholders are working to advance needed progress to retain and attract racially and ethnically diverse teachers and leaders for our students.
The Coalition to Increase Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers in Minnesota, for example, creates safe, supportive and affirming community and avenues for engaging current and aspiring educators of color and American Indian educators. We have provided grant funding to support affinity gatherings and members’ learning through conferences focused on equity, with members sharing their learnings with their schools and larger coalition affinity group(s). The activities funded through this grant strengthened and created relationships that are important to retention.
We have also supported the Minnesota chapter of the Collective, which is Teach For America’s national association for alumni of color. This association helps teachers grow their leadership capacity, strengthen community, and increase access to opportunities for TFA alumni of color, and to forge connections between alumni and new TFA corps members.
We are supporting the Minnesota Educational Equity Partnership in its work, using strategy mapping and goal tracking to identify opportunities for shared learning and collaboration across schools, program partners, community leaders, and other key stakeholders working to increase more teachers of color and American Indian teachers leading classrooms in our community. Additionally, through the creation of imprint.org, MNEEP is advancing a new narrative to elevate the teaching profession as a career choice, which takes into account the school experiences of students of color.
We have supported Minneapolis Public Schools in seeking to identify levers for reversing the loss of effective teachers of color in the district. Through the grant provided by MN Comeback, the district HR department conducted critical research and data collection relating to efforts to increase teacher diversity. A presentation based on these findings was created and presented at a public meeting of the Minneapolis Public Schools Board in fall 2018.
The Minneapolis school board has since instructed the district to conduct an Equity and Diversity Impact Assessment (EDIA) to investigate the lack of teacher diversity. And, the district is continuing efforts for increasing teacher diversity through funding a recruitment and retention coordinator.