Increasing Teacher Diversity, Supply, and Retention through Grow Your Own Programs

Are programs that recruit local teachers from underrepresented backgrounds an effective way to build and retain teacher diversity and serve students of color?

Racial and socio-economic inequities in graduation rates and educational opportunities have lasting consequences for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. Studies have shown that exposure to teachers from similar ethnic and racial backgrounds can increase educational attainment. However, schools serving low-income students and Black and Latinx students have higher teacher turnover rates than high-income schools, and the teacher workforce is not representative of the student population. In this study, Kraft and Edwards will examine the efficacy of “Grow Your Own” programs, which increase the diversity of the teacher workforce by recruiting high school students, paraprofessionals, and community members from local communities, and by lowering barriers to entry to the profession through financial incentives and other supports. They will map the national landscape of Grow Your Own programs and evaluate the impact of existing Grow Your Own programs in Texas on teacher recruitment, retention, and effectiveness. To assess impact, the team will deploy quasi-experimental designs including regression discontinuity and difference-in-difference models. Findings may provide evidence on the value of a highly touted but little studied program with promise to increase the racial diversity of the teacher workforce and reduce racial educational inequalities.

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