Educator Diversity Research Team Secures Key Partnership to Improve Teacher Diversity in SchoolsJulia Cummings | School of Education and Human Development Jul 7, 2023
Since she was a child, Dr. Margarita Bianco, yearned for more teachers who looked like her. This passion led to a rewarding career as a college faculty member and to the founding of Pathways2Teaching, an initiative that courts aspiring teachers of color in high school and provides opportunities to earn college credits for that can be applied to schools like CU Denver’s School of Education & Education & Human Development, where they can earn degrees and then secure teaching jobs in local schools.
Bianco’s aspirations reached a new level last Spring when it was announced that CU Denver’s new Educator Diversity Research team would be one of three groups in the nation invited to team up with colleagues at the National Center for Research on Educator Diversity’s Research-Practice Partnership (RPP) Lab. CU Denver’s Educator Diversity Research team is comprised of Margarita Bianco, EdD, associate professor of special education, Robin Brandehoff, PhD, clinical assistant professor of culturally and linguistically diverse education, Antwan Jefferson, PhD, associate dean for equity, diversity and inclusion, and Madhavi Tandon, PhD, lecturer.
“Diverse educators make incredible impacts on the lives of students and their communities around the globe,” said Bianco. “CU Denver’s Educator Diversity Research team is extremely proud to be connected with this national collaborative of community-engaged scholars who ground themselves in innovative research practice partnerships and demonstrate a strong commitment to sharing key research findings broadly with faculty members, students and practicing teachers.”
The National Center for Research on Educator Diversity (NCRED) launched in 2020 at the University of Houston. NCRED scholars are committed to dismantling inequity in teacher development systems by supporting the academic and professional advancement of ethnoracially, culturally and linguistically diverse educators.
According to NCRED, at least half of U.S. public school students are Black, Indigenous, or people of color. Research to-date demonstrates that having teachers who look like those students or have similar backgrounds has a positive impact on student achievement, engagement and other life skills.
NCRED scholars stewarded the Handbook of Research on Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers, a project involving 60+ education researchers from universities across the nation. The handbook sets forth research and policy directives to address knowledge gaps related to recruiting, preparing, supporting, and retaining Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers in K-12 schools. As an experimental context for developing innovative research models focused on educator diversity, and putting their handbook research into practice, NCRED launched the Community Teacher Equity Development (CTED) program in the greater Houston area.
In addition to partnering with CU Denver’s Educator Diversity Team, NCRED’s Research-Practice Partnership Lab will these projects to the collaborative:
- Bridges — a partnership based in Virginia among Roanoke College, Roanoke City Public Schools, Salem City Public Schools, and Roanoke County Public Schools, and
- Nebraska Educator Diversification Partnership — a coalition among teacher education programs Nebraska (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska-Omaha, and University of Nebraska-Kearney) and Lincoln Public Schools.
We look forward to future updates from CU Denver’s Educator Diversity Research team, as they partner with local and national schools to address the most pressing problems confronting ethnoracial teacher workforce diversification and to seek promising solutions.