There is evidence that Black teachers can add unique value to Black student’s academic and socio-emotional outcomes. In response to this, there has been a prioritization of diversifying the pipeline for new teachers. Recent analysis suggests that these efforts have been successful and today there is, in fact, a more diverse pipeline of teachers entering the profession. However, further analysis suggests that these efforts are being undermined by higher attrition rates amongst Black and Latino teachers.
Currently, there is a lack of innovation in the education ecosystem specific to the training, support, and retention of Black teachers that can position them to maximize their unique impact on Black students’ academic and socio-emotional outcomes while also sustaining long-term careers in education.
Limited attention is given to the development and support necessary to reap the potential for increased impact on the academic and socio-emotional development of Black students when taught by Black teachers. And little attention is given to the additional weight on Black teachers who aspire to have this impact. Research suggests this lack of attention contributes to higher attrition rates among Black teachers.
Black teachers are overwhelmingly placed in high poverty, racially isolated schools where their impact is most needed and has the greatest potential. In these schools teacher retention is often challenging and attrition is costly.
There are often increased demands on Black teachers within these environments especially in response to the academic and socio-emotional needs of students coming from disenfranchised and underserved communities. This necessitates a higher level of instructional strength, emotional stamina, and cultural capital that often leaves teachers overwhelmed. All the while we assume they have the skills, mindsets, and knowledge to actualize the potential benefits of Shared Racial Identity Learning Environments without any deliberate training and support.
A landscape analysis of teacher prep programs, both alternative and traditional, reveals a void of programming specific to maximizing Black teachers impact on Black students. Most of the work around diversity focuses on increasing the number of Black and Latino recruits entering prep programs. The growth in teacher diversity is widely attributed to the success of diversity recruiting efforts. Beyond recruitment, diversity strategies take two paths: inclusion initiatives and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP) training. Both are important but insufficient in our efforts to improve outcomes for Black children.
The BTC Solution
Black Teacher Collaborative, a social entrepreneurship venture, provides an opportunity to engage in development of strategies and tools that build the mindsets, skills, and knowledge needed to actualize a new model for Black teacher impact and efficacy. So how will we do it? Here are our tools to get there.
- Professional Development Teacher Leader Programming and Support that creates spaces for teachers to reflect, learn and embrace a commitment to ongoing growth and development of their craft in service to their students and community
- Shared Racial Identity Learning Environment Expertise that informs change across the entire education landscape
- A Platform for Systemic Change that lifts up the voices, experiences, leadership and insight of Black teachers
Most teacher preparation programs rightfully focus on making sure their teachers, across all racial and ethnic background, are equipped to serve our most vulnerable students. Their efforts have fueled unprecedented levels of innovation in education over the last 25 years.
However, rarely if ever, has that innovation centered around or even considered a Black shared racial identity lens or Black teachers more broadly.
BTC will redefine the training and development of Black educators through an SRILE lens enabling us to fully maximize the unique benefits that emerge from Black SRILE classrooms across the public- school landscape.