How these 8 states are using federal grants to build a diverse teacher workforce

A look at how several states are using their ESSER funds to diversify their teacher workforce to meet the needs of their student population.

To combat a national teacher shortage, states are starting to get creative. From “Grow Your Own” teachers to allowing veterans to teach, the possibilities are endless.

Districts have an abundance of COVID-relief funds at their disposal as well, yet many are struggling to spend it all before it’s gone forever. If you need some help, here’s an idea: diversify your teacher workforce.

According to a recent report from The Education Trust, a nonprofit that aims to provide equitable education for all students, schools can be doing more to use their federal grants to support teacher diversity.

Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Nevada, Iowa, Oklahoma, Massachusetts and South Carolina are among several states that serve as excellent examples of those who have made a conscious effort to invest in educator preparedness.

Here’s a look at how they’re doing it:

  • Georgia: The state has allocated $5 million to provide program fees, books and materials, exam fees, and certification for new teachers. An additional $5 million was used to provide program fees, books and materials in high-need areas for teacher endorsements.
  • Indiana: Federal grants were used to partner with 13 higher education institutions in supporting English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching certification.
  • Ohio and Nevada: Both states used funds to help higher education institutions provide scholarships to those participating in teacher preparation programs.
  • Iowa, Nevada and Oklahoma: These three states have allocated resources toward tuition assistance, exam fee waivers and student teaching stipends to those who are enrolled in teacher preparation programs.
  • Massachusetts: $350,000 was used to pilot alternative assessments for teachers to obtain their license in order to add more pathways into the profession.
  • South Carolina: The state used $600,000 to expand a Clemson University program called “Call me MISTER,” an initiative that serves to expand the pool of eligible teachers from diverse backgrounds.

“All students, regardless of race or ethnicity, benefit from having a racially and culturally diverse teacher workforce, and the positive impacts are especially significant for students of color,” the report reads. “However, the wide and persistent disparity between the proportion of students of color and that of teachers of color in the U.S. is preventing far too many students from realizing these benefits.”

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Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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