Whether teachers stay and thrive in the teaching profession depends largely on having systemwide policies and practices in place that address teacher shortages, promote equity and excellence, and cultivate expertise, diversity, cultural responsiveness, and more.

The resources in this Spotlight highlight recent lessons learned about strengthening teacher preparation programs, share insights on why a diverse workforce matters, and summarize the results from a nationwide teacher survey.

Strengthening Teacher Preparing Programs

Research on university-based teacher preparation programs identifies three key strategies that programs can use to help prepare teachers to teach to rigorous standards and engage in more student-centered, culturally responsive, pedagogical practices:

  • Define a clear set of prioritized skills that teachers must master to teach effectively
  • Improve the quality, coherence, and consistency of coursework and clinical experiences
  • Offer opportunities for candidates to practice in a clinical setting and receive high-quality feedback

In 2016, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the California State University (CSU) system partnered to launch California’s New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI) in an effort to strengthen CSU’s teacher preparation programs. WestEd and SRI International conducted an evaluation to help support continuous improvement and to provide a summative assessment of NGEI’s progress. Read our findings and lessons learned in four new papers.

Why We Need a Diverse and Culturally Responsive Teacher Workforce Now

“Students benefit from mirrors and windows: the mirror represents the story that reflects their own culture and helps them build their own identity, and the window offers them a view into someone else’s experience. Simply stated, diversity makes us smarter.”

Read insights about why diverse representation among classroom educators matters in our Q&A with Saroja Warner, and for more information, check out the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Guidance for a Diverse and Learner-Ready Teacher Workforce, written by Warner and colleague, Eric Duncan.

Strategic Policymaking: California Analysis for Learning and Engagement 

California Analysis for Learning and Engagement (CALE) is a multi-year, critical needs sensing, research-to-policy initiative that serves as a critical knowledge hub for timely research, analysis, and insights into pressing California policy priorities — particularly curriculum and instructional systems and postsecondary pathways — to advance strategic policymaking capacity.

The initiative’s research findings from a nationwide teacher survey on teachers’ beliefs about and practices with their instructional materials for English learner students are summarized in three new Knowledge Briefs.

Visit our Teachers and Leaders web page for more resources and solutions, and stay tuned for more discussion about preparing and diversifying the teacher workforce in our E-Bulletin and on social media — Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.