In 2016, we explored the importance of teacher diversity in schools and discovered a myriad of benefits such as:
- A more diverse teacher workforce that could help narrow the achievement gap
- Social and emotional advantages
- Higher expectations of students of color from teachers
- Increasing access to high-level coursework
- Teachers serving as advocates for students and a stronger school culture
And while national as well as local organizations are working on this issue, new data from the state’s school report cards paint a clearer picture on how teacher diversity is faring in Delaware.
Delaware teachers and principals are less diverse than the students they serve. There are approximately 138,000 students in 220 schools in Delaware—56% of them are of color. About 9,600 teachers teach in Delaware schools—but only 17% of them identify as teachers of color (TOC).
After 2 years of teaching, TOC leave the field. Delaware only retains 50% of TOC in the same school after two years and 70% in the state, which is 10% lower than non-TOC.
The K-12 Teacher Academy Pathway can diversify the profession. 1,500 Delaware high school students are enrolled in K-12 Teacher Academy courses—50% of color.
Increased concentration on teacher residencies has led to more prepared new teachers and higher retention potential: The state will invest $1 million in programs this year and plans to expand their efforts to double the number of teacher residencies in three years.
These data indicate our state is on the precipice of change. Delaware is on the forefront of leveraging a grow-your-own strategy with significant cultural and policy changes.
The positive momentum underway—including K-12 Teacher Academies, teacher residencies, and much more—could lead to higher recruitment and retention rates among TOC and close the teacher diversity gap.