America has simply been ignoring conversations about prioritizing teacher diversity and equity for far too long.
Black led educational organizations aren’t waiting for the Department of Education to get it right; they are making this a priority and taking the lead on building the next generation of educators!
Public schools continue to struggle with teacher diversity and equity for Black students. Even more, during the pandemic it’s become more of a crisis for them to retain Black teachers.
The Education Trust has published a very important report on why prioritizing teacher diversity and equity aren’t topics for negotiation. After reading it, it makes sense why equity and diversity are still ongoing issues for Black students.
Public school districts dangle a carrot in front of our faces to distract us from their lack of commitment to true equity changes.
So I don’t want to see another public school board approve an equity/race/diversity based position, statement, or initiative until they have implemented the policies, budgets, staff, and partnerships with Black educational leaders at the decision making table.
If we don’t get the right Black leaders working for the equity in public schools then educational outcomes will never be efficient for the success of Black students.
Public schools should be hiring Black led non profits to partner with every school to lead the equity work.
Organizations advocating for equity for Black students such as CREED, led by Dr. James Ford in North Carolina and Profound Gentlemen (PG) and co-founded by Jason Terrell and Mario Jovan Shaw, are elevating conversations on improving educational outcomes for Black children.
Their advocacy specifically focuses on Black students. Many whom PG empowers are Black boys who are disproportionately represented in lower percentiles in every category of academic achievement.
Improving the teacher pipeline is a specific focus of PG. Co-founder Jason Terrell stated, “Driven by the belief — and backed up by studies — that “highly effective educators are the single ingredient most likely to impact student achievement.” This organization is one of many Black led non profits uplifting policy changes to improve the diversity of the teacher pipeline in North Carolina and Georgia.
CREED is also leading many conversations and equity work for Black teachers and students. The organization’s founder and leader, James Ford, is unapologetically a catalyst for educational equity.
He’s widely known for his statement to NC school board leaders; “We said that equity is a part of our strategic plan. At some point, we got to be about that life.” Yeah, this about sums it up for the culture.
We don’t need any more white liberals or guilt trippers saying Black lives matter and not allowing Black people with impactful and effective programs such as CREED NC and Profound Gentlemen a seat at the table.
Here’s how school can go from talking the talk of equity to walking the walk!
- Partner with Black led organizations to support in the recruitment and retention of educators of color.
… and don’t be cheap! Don’t throw pennies at the problem. Invest in Black minds by investing in those who have programs that can support the social, emotional, and academic development of educators of color.
- Empower student leadership organizations that have a focus on equity, social justice, and diversity.
Allow student voices to be heard simply beyond a climate survey. They have valuable ideas and input to conversations around teacher diversity and equity.
As we push for public school boards and leaders to prioritize teacher diversity and equity, let’s also remember to demand this on the state level in state and university teacher prep programs, too.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.