Giving Compass' Take:

• Cassandra Herring urges education leaders to prioritize the need to diversify teacher populations as we reform and rebuild during coronavirus.

• Why is it so important to diversify teacher populations in the United States? How might this work to tear down cycles of marginalization both inside education and out? What are you doing to draw attention to the necessity of diverse teacher populations throughout the pandemic?

• Read more about the importance of prioritizing teacher diversity in the U.S.

Some education observers and advocates have framed this imperative and this moment as an opportunity to address well-known issues that have long undermined the quality of our education system. Their proposed solutions range from the incremental to the radical, but ultimately they share in the thinking that, because the status quo has been destabilized, systemic changes that have traditionally met with resistance may at last be possible.

Little, though, has been said about how we can strengthen and diversify our teacher workforce so that it is better constituted and equipped to provide inclusive instruction consistently and universally.

The mismatch between the glittering diversity of our student population and our predominantly white teacher corps is a major impediment to improving the quality of our education system. A preponderance of evidence shows that educator diversity is tremendously beneficial for all students and teachers. But the fact that teachers of color account for only 20 percent of all public school teachers — and that more than 40 percent of public schools do not have even one teacher of color — means too many young people either only ever learn from teachers who look like they do (in the case of white students) or else never learn from teachers who look like they do.

Because who our teachers are matters, as does their ability, to instruct, connect with, and inclusively engage all students. Without a concerted effort to ensure that our teacher force is made more diverse, first and foremost by improving retention rates for teachers of color and by better preparing them to thrive in the classroom, this moment of opportunity carries the very real risk of reproducing, by default, many of the same inequities we strive to overcome.

Read the full article about the need to diversify teacher populations by Cassandra Herring at The 74.