• IDRA Newsletter • January 2020 •

The national teacher shortage significantly impacts a district’s ability to increase diversity among its instructional staff. An increasing body of literature promotes the benefits of a racially-diverse teacher workforce. Concurrently, schools struggle with cultivating a robust pool of highly qualified educators. This is especially problematic for many districts across the South that are still under legal obligation to do so.

In most cases, the U.S. Department of Justice or Office for Civil Rights files a complaint against the districts. When a court finds a district to be noncompliant because of discriminatory faculty assignment, the district often enters into a voluntary agreement with the court or is under a consent decree. The court outlines a detailed plan for the district to increase recruitment, hiring and retention of teachers of color. If the district meets its required actions within the time set by the court, the court may grant the district unitary status.

The IDRA EAC-South is currently providing technical assistance services in five states to seven school districts that are under federal desegregation orders related to faculty recruitment and assignment.

Flier for Diversifying The Teaching Field PackageDistricts also can self-identify the need to diversify their staff. More than 20 school districts are presently under voluntary agreement with the courts to address inequitable hiring and retention of diverse and highly-qualified teachers of color. For example, one district partner in Virginia reported that its Black student enrollment was 26% while the staff comprised only 5% to 6% Black teachers. The Commonwealth’s director of the equity and inclusion office seeks to increase representation of Black educators and provide students with a more culturally-sustaining learning environment. The services we provide include research-based solutions and recommendations for districts.

In addition, the IDRA EAC-South published a web-based technical assistance package on diversifying the teaching field that contains videos, literature reviews and other resources on recruiting and retaining teachers of color. The on-demand package is available free online. For information on IDRA EAC-South services, visit www.idraeacsouth.org or email eacsouth@idra.org.

The IDRA EAC-South is the equity assistance center serving schools in the U.S. South to protect students’ civil rights.

[©2020, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the January 2020 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]