Boosting teacher diversity requires bold, extensive action

By: | June 16, 2021

Before the American Rescue Plan passed in March, steering nearly $130 billion into public school coffers, there was growing concern about the potential for widespread layoffs and what this might mean for the teacher workforce. Public school systems in two states began exploring policies that would prioritize teachers’ racial diversity over seniority in the event of layoffs. Worried that pandemic-induced budget shortfalls will lead to staff cuts that threatened to erase the progress on workforce diversity that many locales have seen in recent years, policymakers and leaders eyed pre-emptive action.

Even if it now appears that we’ve dodged the worst of what could have been—though the threat of layoffs will persist until we know student enrollments are coming back—it’s still constructive to consider whether this approach to protecting teacher diversity is worth preserving.

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