UW–Madison’s Kimber Wilkerson speaks about the importance of having a diverse teacher workforce for all students in a recent article in the Appleton Post-Crescent.
The article, headlined “Our classrooms are increasingly diverse, yet 9 of 10 teachers are white. Why that’s a problem and what can be done about it,” examines a current mismatch between teachers and students in Wisconsin schools: While students in Wisconsin are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse — with about one-third of students in 2021-2022 being students of color — among licensed teachers in Wisconsin over 90 percent are white.
Wilkerson, the associate dean for teacher education in the School of Education, points out that diversity is not only beneficial to students of color. It’s important for all students.
“There’s value in having a diverse teacher workforce,” Wilkerson says. “It’s good for young people to see people with diverse experiences and identities, represented in authority and respected roles in their young lives.”
The article also highlights how programs such as the School of Education Wisconsin Teacher Pledge Program are helping to remove barriers to entering the teaching profession. The program pays the equivalent of in-state tuition and fees, testing, and licensing costs for all UW–Madison teacher education students who pledge to stay and teach in Wisconsin PK-12 schools for three to four years after graduation.
To learn more, check out the full article at postcrescent.com.