By: Rann Miller
Many school building and school district leaders are engaged in the work of recruiting current and prospective teachers of color to their classrooms. How successful those leaders are is up for debate, but based on the current teacher demographics, the argument can be made that over the last 30 years, the success is minimal.
The racial demographics of recruiters, as well as those in hiring positions, mirror that of the teachers: mostly white people. For whatever reason, finding teachers and teacher candidates of color isn’t necessarily a strength—even if a priority. So, it makes sense that recruiters should partner with organizations of color that can support their diversity efforts where recruitment is concerned.
Organizations of color, organizations like DIVERSITY in Ed, whose goal is to support the increase of people of color in education—like teaching—are dedicated to work with any group or individuals with a similar goal. Leaders within these organizations understand what people of color bring to the industry; not only their skills, but perspectives, life experiences and approach to problem solving that can enhance the school environment for the better.
This is especially true for classrooms.
However, some building and district leaders often “partner” with organizations described earlier simply to say they’re doing the work of diversity within teacher recruitment as opposed to actually doing the work.
There are some building and district leaders who may not prioritize recruiting teachers of color but face some pressure to do so. These are prime candidates for perpetrating frauds; sabotaging the efforts of organizations of color, like DIVERSITY in Ed, who do the work of providing them with candidates and connecting them with other like-minded networks to support other accompanying efforts in the areas of hiring, onboarding and retention.
Sabotaging can range from failing to follow up with prospective candidates—to completely ignoring strongly suggested recommendations based on evidence.
While those actions certainly harm the reputation of those schools and districts, they can (and potentially do) harm the organizations of color they work with. Organizations of color are often trusted resources for people of color; particularly those whose work is to get people of color hired. It is because those organizations have a goal unlike many other groups—get people of color in the face of recruiters.
But when organizations, like schools and/or districts, fail to do their part as partners with these organizations, it reflects the ability or inability of organizations of color to effectively help people of color.
To those schools and/or districts looking to partner with networks like DIVERSITY in Ed to help with their recruiting teachers of color, wonderful. Just be sure not to “fake the funk” and actually do the work. Failing to do so doesn’t only make you look bad, it makes organizations of color appear ineffective—in fact, the well-intended ultimately appears to be less effective.