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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
Bill seeks to bring more men of color into teaching
April 19, 2021
Supporters of a new bill to recruit more men of color into teaching cite numerous studies showing the positive effects a diverse teacher workforce can have on male students of color.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and other education leaders are urging support of Assembly Bill 520, which is authored by Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson, D-Carson. The bill would establish the California Diversifying Teacher Grant Program, awarding $15 million in grants for school districts to provide one-time competitive grants that develop and implement new (or expand existing) programs that address a local need to develop the teacher workforce while emphasizing the retention of male teachers of color.
AB 520 received unanimous approval from the California State Assembly Committee on Education earlier this month.
“We regularly talk about equity, but we must make equity the forefront and center in our schools. This bill is about adding tools to the toolbox and creating the opportunities to motivate more men of color to be in the classroom. The research is undeniable,” Gipson said, in a news release.
Gipson cited research from The National Bureau of Economic Research, which reports that having a Black teacher for one year in elementary school raised long-term education attainment for Black male students, especially for those from low-income households.
“AB 520 would provide schools with the tools to help them build a more diverse teacher population and students with opportunities to succeed,” he said.
Thurmond added, “This is a movement that is taking place all across the country as people are building pipeline programs to expand opportunities for male educators of color. We know we need more educators of all backgrounds, but there is a particular need to diversify our workforce. The research has shown for years that there are benefits to students of color when there is just one educator of color on a campus, and those benefits extend to all students. At the end of the day, this is going to benefit students from all backgrounds.”
During an April 13 news conference, a California school district leader shared the real-world impact programs to diversify the teaching workforce has had on student achievement.
“I firmly believe when we as a district increase the number of male teachers of color, we deepen our commitment to diversity and achieving educational equity while also providing a source of inspiration for our students who see male teachers of color as positive examples of their future selves,” stated Micah Ali, president of the Board of Trustees at Compton Unified School District, where fewer than 1 percent of students are white. “By having role models that look like and have similar backgrounds as their students, we help to create a positive campus climate for all. I am confident that AB 520 will lead to a tidal wave of Black and brown male excellence in the classroom, like the one that is sweeping the universities, boardrooms, entrepreneurship and, of course, academia.”
“I am confident that AB 520 will lead to a tidal wave of Black and brown male excellence in the classroom.”
— Micah Ali, President, Compton USD Board of Trustees
Research validates the goals of AB 520, said Travis J. Bristol, assistant professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education, who is the chair of Thurmond’s Teacher Diversity Advisory Group.
Bristol explains that there is a “demographic mismatch” between teachers and students in California: Approximately 75 percent of students in public schools are students of color compared to 40 percent of teachers being teachers of color.
“AB 520 is a bold and comprehensive piece of legislation that addresses the life course of a teacher. It provides funding to districts and county offices to recruit and support mentoring of teachers of color and coaching for school leaders on how to create environments that can attend to the social and emotional needs of our children and our teachers,” Bristol said. “We need the California Legislature to pass, and for Governor Newsom to sign, AB 520 so California can stand as a leader in diversifying the teacher workforce.”
Information about Dr. Bristol’s research is available at
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