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Aurora Institute

There is an urgent need for state leaders to modernize and align educator preparation and development systems. States must diversify the educator workforce to better reflect our student population and prepare our existing workforce to meet the needs of a diverse student population.


It is time to move beyond outdated systems of educator pre-service preparation, certification, professional development, and evaluation, and transition to a coherent, competency-based, educator professional learning system. To do this, we must prepare teachers for learner-centered systems, which entails different knowledge, skills, and dispositions than teaching in traditional classrooms. An important part of modernizing the educator workforce and closing achievement and opportunity gaps is a teaching workforce that reflects the diversity and life experiences of today’s communities and schools. Black and brown students do better academically, experience fewer disciplinary incidents, and form stronger and more trusting bonds with teachers who look like them, promoting deeper learning. It’s imperative to support the pipeline of high-quality, black and brown instructors to ensure that all students are equipped with the skills necessary for success. The path to becoming a teacher needs to be more accessible and affordable. The increasing costs of teacher and leader education programs exclude many people of color from the workforce but policymakers can prioritize increasing access and affordability of higher education. Although state policymakers alone cannot drive all changes necessary to shift the conditions for teaching and learning, they can play important roles in initiating and coordinating collaborative approaches and enacting targeted policies.


  • State leaders can engage with stakeholders of both traditional and non-traditional teacher and leader preparation programs to identify and address systemic barriers to access and affordability.
  • States can support the use of specific practices that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the educator workforce, such as by prioritizing state funding and through technical assistance on district DEI initiatives.
  • States can engage stakeholders to examine any gaps in educator workforce data that impede progress toward DEI (e.g., transparency on staff turnover by race/ethnicity and pay equity by race/ethnicity).
Related COntent


March 14, 2018

Equity by Design in the Educator Workforce

Dale Frost, Maria Worthen, Natalie Truong, Susan Patrick


February 21, 2018

Five State Policy Action Steps to Modernize Educator Preparation and Development Systems

Dale Frost, Maria Worthen, Natalie Truong, Susan Patrick