Diversity in the teacher pipeline

By Learning Forward
April 2019
Vol. 40 No. 2
Given that over 5 million K-12 students in the U.S. public school system are classified as English learners (NCES, 2017), many policymakers and school leaders recognize that public schools need ethnically and linguistically diverse educators. But about 80% of teaching staff are white (Williams, Garcia, Connally, Cook, & Dancy, 2016), and only 13% speak another language in addition to English. To bridge this gap, some school districts have turned to bilingual paraeducators (sometimes called paraprofessionals or teacher aides) to support students’ learning — and to cultivate the next wave of licensed teachers. In 2012, the Northern Nevada English Learning Initiative, a consortium of education entities in and around Washoe County, Nevada, received a grant from the federal Office of English Language Acquisition to develop and

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Toni Rader and Shawn Pennell

Toni Rader ( is a coordinator at the Education Support Professionals Division of the Department of Professional Learning in Washoe County School District. Shawn Pennell ( is director of academic affairs at Multnomah University Reno-Tahoe.


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Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

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