Diversifying the teacher workforce is necessary, but there’s a bigger-picture issue. We are recruiting more people of color to enter the teaching field. More black and brown teachers at the head of the class means more students inspired by the lived experiences of teachers of color.
Then what? Teachers of color go into a system not designed to respect, accept or support them.
Being a teacher of color in Washington schools with mostly white teachers and a black and brown student body means becoming de facto social workers, therapists, family-engagement liaisons, translators, uncles, aunties, housing experts, guidance counselors, racial-equity leads and race facilitators.
Teachers of color bear all the expectation of solutions toward equity — with none of the power to implement systemic and cultural changes.
Then, teachers of color leave education.
We need to change the conditions of the classrooms and school buildings so that every teacher — especially teachers of color — feels supported, respected, appreciated and needed.
Solving the opportunity, achievement and racial gap in education is not the job of just teachers of color.
Sharonne Navas, Renton, executive director, Equity in Education Coalition