Mortar and diploma

Recruiting Teachers of Color

Montclair State is a Magnet for Attracting a Diverse Pool of Teaching Candidates

Montclair State has taken a leadership role in tackling major issues that have dominated the education conversation, including preparing talented teachers and diversifying the educator workforce. Research shows a more diverse workforce is crucial to all students, yet with a majority of the New Jersey’s public school students being students of color, just 16 percent of the state’s teachers are teachers of color.

Montclair State takes its role seriously in recruiting, preparing, supporting and placing a diverse pool of teaching candidates in New Jersey schools, says Jennifer Robinson, executive director of the Center of Pedagogy.

“We want to combat the social inequalities that we are seeing every day in our society,” Robinson says. “So, we have a broader mission beyond just teaching students about subject matter. We want to make sure our students see themselves as moral agents who are going to provide their students with access to knowledge, opening doors and windows and opportunities.”

Numerous studies have shown the benefits of a diverse teaching force, including higher academic performance, graduation rates and college enrollment when teachers share race, ethnicity or gender with their students. The New Jersey Department of Education has set a goal of having the ranks of novice teachers – those teaching for four years or less – reflect the diversity of public school students by 2025.

Through research, Robinson says, “we’ve begun to realize that teachers of color are able to have higher expectations of all of their students. They also have a tendency to be able to address issues of racism that sometimes occurs in our schools and in our classrooms. They serve as cultural brokers, individuals who can help all of our teachers and all of our students understand what is going on in terms of an interaction or in terms of a learning style, and are able to build trusting relationships with their students.”

Video by Christodoulos Apostolou

Story by Marilyn Lehren