CWU Dedicated to Increasing Diversity Among School Teachers

Central Washington University campus in Ellensburg/photo by CWU

From a CWU press release: It’s a fact that student demographics across the country are changing. In response, more teachers that reflect increasing cultural diversity are needed. Central Washington University, which has an established record for developing teachers, is now helping come up with ways to diversify the teacher workforce…

“Right now I’m working with Mabton School District and Grandview School District and we’re working on developing a grow your own teaching academy and trying to have these communities identify the talent they have for the teaching field. Those interested in the teaching field and then fostering and really cultivating those individuals to be able to navigate and realize those dreams.”

That’s Central education professor, Keith Reyes, who is working with other university staff to establish those academies. Research indicates when there is a demographic match between teachers and those they teach, more positive outcomes result for students of color, including in test scores and discipline. In addition, teachers of color serve as role models, can counter student stereotypes, and provide new perspectives from their diverse backgrounds and life experiences.

“The Mexican-American middle class in the U.S. is a slowly burgeoning population. It’s growing, so educational attainment for Mexican-Americans has certainly gone up. Not necessarily on par with their Anglo peers, but we’ve seen some development.”

Reyes teaches courses in multiculturalism, educational leadership and administration. He also conducts research on kindergarten through college educational policies and practices and the impacts they have on bilingual students and students from diverse cultural backgrounds.

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