JUNE 6, 2023 – Black students who have just one Black teacher in elementary school are more likely to graduate from high school and consider going to college (Gershenson, et al., 2022), yet just 6% of public school teachers are Black (Taie & Lewis, 2022).
The National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) launched its Black Educators Initiative (BEI) in 2019, to recruit, prepare, and retain more Black educators. The research is clear that as the nation’s students become more diverse, teacher residencies are the best way to prepare the next generation of teachers of color. Teacher residencies are district-serving teacher preparation programs that pair a rigorous full-year classroom experience with undergraduate or graduate education content and uniquely prepare effective, diverse and culturally responsive teachers by reducing historical barriers to entry into the profession for teachers of color.
NCTR recently released its 2021-2022 BEI Annual Report that shares the growth, impact, and lessons learned from the national initiative. The report provides a look into Year 3 of the five-year, $20-million initiative that saw its highest graduation numbers with 225 Black teacher residents who graduated from a BEI-supported teacher residency program, also known as BEI grantees. This brings the total to 511 graduates who have gone on to become teachers of record from participating in BEI – bringing BEI closer to its goal of preparing 750 Black teacher residents to become a teacher of record by June 2024.
The positive impact of BEI on the preparation of Black teacher residents is evident from hiring data reported by BEI grantees. In total, almost all of the 511 Black teacher residents to graduate from grantee programs since the start of the initiative (477 or 93%) were hired to teach in a school district or charter management organization (CMO) partnered with their teacher residency program, and most grantees saw 100% of their Black graduates hired to teach in a partner district or CMO. Fifteen of 20 Year 3 BEI grantees saw 100% of their Black teacher residency graduates for 2021-2022 hired to teach in a partner district or CMO.
The urgency to create change in education in communities across the United States continues to grow as Year 3 saw an increase of eight additional teacher residency programs receiving support from NCTR’s BEI. Funding from BEI allows NCTR to invest in teacher residency programs to recruit from communities of color that predominantly serve Title I schools; help reduce barriers for aspiring Black educators to enter and remain in the profession through scholarships, stipends, emergency funds and licensure testing support; provide teacher residents with coaching from an expert mentor teacher; and improve retention through affinity groups to empower Black educators to transform their schools and districts.
To support Black educators from a policy standpoint, earlier this year, NCTR’s BEI released, “Doing Better for Black Educators: Six Policy Recommendations for Improving the Recruitment and Preparation of Black Educators.” The report is designed to help teacher preparation programs, school districts, and states use what BEI grantees are learning to improve the recruitment, preparation, and support of Black educators across the country.