Access, Equity, P-20W Data

Future Black Teachers Need Access to Data

Future Black Teachers Need Access to Data

Future teachers need better access to data to understand their options and make decisions throughout their journeys toward a career as educators. This guest blog post is from Mimi Woldeyohannes, the Director of External Affairs at the Center for Black Educator Development. Mimi shares her expertise on the Center’s programs which aim to build a strong pipeline of Black teachers. 

We need Black teachers. Studies have found that all students, especially Black students, benefit from having at least one Black teacher during their K–12 education. By having just one or two Black teachers in their early grades, Black students have stronger racial identities, a greater sense of belonging, improved academic outcomes, and lower dropout and suspension rates than Black students who do not have Black teachers. However, since the public school teacher workforce is significantly less diverse than the students they teach, the reality is that most students will go through their education without a Black teacher. With far too few Black teachers entering the profession these days, it is more important than ever to build a strong pipeline of Black educators—and to do so requires providing future teachers with access to information.

Black high school students need information to make decisions that enable them to pursue teaching as a career. High school students have many questions to answer as they think about their futures. Students who are interested in a career in teaching deserve clear information about their options after high school—including which programs can support them to take steps forward and pursue their career goals. Programs like the Center for Black Educator Development’s Teaching Academy, a career and technical education (CTE) course that partners with higher education institutions to provide college credits through dual enrollment, which enables students to graduate high school with an associate’s degree in education and certification as an educational paraprofessional. Further, the Center’s Freedom Schools Literacy Academy is an intensive five-week summer and year-round after-school program that provides Black high school and college students with meaningful opportunities to explore and deepen their interest in becoming educators. To grow the Black teacher pipeline, it is important to ensure that Black students can find, use, and understand information about programs that support them on their journey to become educators—especially as they determine their next steps after high school.

Black teacher candidates need access to information about the supports that are available to them as they complete their training. As important as it is to build the Black teacher pipeline by appealing to a new generation of educators, it is equally important to simultaneously develop retention interventions that ensure Black teacher candidates complete their training and move into the workforce as teachers. For example, the Center’s Black Teacher Pipeline Fellowship ensures program participants receive academic support and professional coaching, along with scholarships and an additional retention stipend at the start of their fifth year of teaching. Information about programs like this can inform teacher candidates about the possible paths forward into the workforce and provide critical support as they complete their teaching degrees. 

Black teachers have a proven impact on student learning. There is not only a great need for more Black teachers in public schools, but also a great need for access to information that supports a new generation of Black teachers throughout their journey into a teaching career. We need Black teachers—and future Black teachers need access to data.

To learn more about the Center for Black Educator Development and the #WeNeedBlackTeachers campaign, visit their website.