Educators and policy makers are calling for increasing the racial and cultural diversity of the teacher workforce, given the widening cultural gap between students and teachers (see Figure 1), and the widening achievement gap between students of color and White students. Some research suggests teachers of color can address the needs of students of color through culturally relevant practices (Quiocho & Rios, 2000). However, recent studies reveal teachers of color suffer greater job dissatisfaction and higher turnover than White teachers (Ingersoll & Connor, 2008; Marvel et al., 2007).
Furthermore, cultural practices of teachers of color, if valued in our schools, need to be developed rather than assumed (Sheets, 2000). Given these circumstances, educators are faced with the following questions:
- What factors impact retention and attrition of new teachers of color?
- What factors support new teachers of color to develop and implement practices that address the needs of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds?
These questions are addressed by a team of researchers at the New Teacher Center, UCSC in a study that followed 21 teachers of color over five years, from preparation through four years of teaching in high-need California schools serving low-income and high-minority student populations.