Unpublished Research Paper
Elementary and Literacy Education Department
Various initiatives are underway in Minnesota and around the country to promote racial consciousness in K-12 teaching (R4615). Some of these show great promise for helping to realize goals related to racial equity and social justice articulated by key professional organizations guiding teacher education and educational research nationwide (AACTE; AERA; AESA).
While enrollment statistics point to incremental gains being made toward diversifying the teaching force in Minnesota and nationwide, this pace lags behind the growth in diversity of the K-12 student population. At the same time, Minnesota’s teaching force remains over 90% white (MDE, 2020).
Considering what research shows about curriculum and teaching practices reflecting the majority group’s interests (Sleeter, 2017), it is no coincidence that the state has produced some of the nation’s highest racial disparities in academic achievement (Shockman, 2019).
This brief is offered as a call to complement recruiting efforts with a dismantling of existing white systems and practices that work to exclude or “filter” non-white teacher candidates out of teacher- preparatory programs and the teaching profession. As the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) claimed in its 2022 call for conference proposals, “simply recruiting teachers from diverse backgrounds is insufficient. Efforts that sustain and affirm these teachers are necessary to the goal of diversifying the educator workforce.” In teacher preparation, this will entail undoing traditionally white practices known to alienate and drive teacher candidates of color away from teaching (Carter Andrews et al., 2019; Johnson & Lehner, 2020).
Lybeck, Rick; Johnson, Andrew P.; and Grigsby, Maria-Renee, "Undoing Whiteness to Diversify Teacher Education and the Teaching Force" (2022). Elementary and Literacy Education Department Publications. 157.
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