Representation Matters: Compiling the Data to Measure the Effect of Teacher Workforce Diversity Policies on Reducing Ethnoracial Inequalities in Academic Outcomes

How do state teacher diversity policies vary and what is the potential of teacher diversity to reduce ethnoracial inequalities in district academic outcomes?

The persistent test score gap between students of color and White students is in part due to unequal educational opportunities, such as teacher–student ethnoracial match, or the alignment between teacher and student race or ethnicity. Students of color are far less likely than their White peers to have teachers who share their racial or ethnic background. A growing number of states have introduced policies promoting the recruitment and retention of teachers of color, but the lack of systematically collected teacher demographic data limits understanding of the relative effectiveness of these policies across district contexts. Jamil and colleagues will address this gap by developing a publicly available database on teacher demographics and diversity policies. They will also conduct foundational analyses of the relationship between teacher diversity, student academic outcomes, and district contextual characteristics over time. Ultimately, the study will support further research on teacher–student ethnoracial match as a lever to reduce racial and ethnic inequalities in academic outcomes and lay the groundwork for future impact studies of state-level teacher workforce diversity policies. In addition to making the database publicly available to researchers, Jamil and colleagues will partner with the Hunt Institute to make data and documentation from the project available to policymakers and other education stakeholders in accessible ways.