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REL Midwest Ask A REL Response

Teacher Preparation

January 2019


What research is available on precollegiate teacher recruitment programs, such as Teacher Cadet, that are designed to recruit capable high school students into the teaching profession?


Following an established Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest protocol, we conducted a search for research reports and descriptive studies on precollegiate teacher recruitment programs. For details on the databases and sources, keywords, and selection criteria used to create this response, please see the Methods section at the end of this memo.

Below, we share a sampling of the publicly accessible resources on this topic. References are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. The search conducted is not comprehensive; other relevant references and resources may exist. For each reference, we provide an abstract, excerpt, or summary written by the study’s author or publisher. We have not evaluated the quality of these references, but provide them for your information only.

Research References

Aragon, S. (2018). Targeted teacher recruitment: What is the issue and why does it matter? (Policy Snapshot). Denver, CO: Education Commission of the States. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “Districts across the country are facing severe shortages of teachers--especially in certain subjects (math, science, special education, career and technical education, and bilingual education) and in specific schools (urban, rural, high-poverty, high-minority, and low-achieving). The severity of the teacher shortage problem varies significantly by state, district, school, and subject. As such, many experts argue that efforts to address shortages should be less about recruiting teachers generally and more about recruiting and retaining the right teachers, in the right subjects, for the right schools. Several states have recently enacted targeted teacher recruitment legislation in one or more of the following areas to attract teachers to high-need schools and subjects: research and data collection; state and district innovations; career pathways and grow-your-own programs; preparation and licensure; financial incentives; and retired teachers. This Policy Snapshot explores recent legislation and key areas of teacher recruitment, and provides summary information on past years’ legislative activities.”

Bottoms, G., & McNally, K. (2005). Actions states can take to place a highly qualified career/technical teacher in every classroom. Atlanta, GA: Southern Regional Education Board. Retrieved from Full text available from

From the ERIC abstract: “This report presents actions states can take to help ensure that they have a highly qualified teacher in every career/technical classroom. In order to meet this goal, states may need to rethink their approach toward recruitment by developing a system to enroll interested and capable high school and college students in a career/technical teacher cadet program that serves as an entry into teaching. This system should include a strategy to recruit and assess non-educators as well as military veterans with proper career/technical backgrounds and with an aptitude for teaching.”

Gist, C. D., Bianco, M., & Lynn, M. (2019). Examining Grow Your Own programs across the teacher development continuum: Mining research on teachers of color and nontraditional educator pipelines. Journal of Teacher Education, 70(1), 13–25. Retrieved from

From the abstract: “Grow Your Own (GYO) programs are cited in recent policy briefs as viable pathways for increasing the racial/ethnic diversity of teachers, yet recent scholarship on GYO programs is minimal. To address this issue, this article investigates what we know, and do not know, about GYO programs, by examining a range of data sources on different types of GYO program teacher pools (e.g., middle/high school, paraprofessional, community activists/parents mentors) and making sense of findings over a continuum of teacher development (e.g., recruitment, preparation, induction, and retention). Based on a research synthesis within and across GYO program teacher pools, we argue implications for policy, practice, and research that should accompany increased recommendations for expanding GYO models for Teachers of Color.”

Goings, R. B., Brandehoff, R., & Bianco, M. (2018). To diversify the teacher workforce, start early. Educational Leadership, 75(8), 50–55. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “The authors describe Pathways2Teaching, a grow-your-own-teacher program operating in high schools in six Colorado school districts that focuses on getting students of color interested in going into K-12 teaching.”

Kamler, E., & Goubeaud, K. (2018). Forging developmental relationships in the Grow Your Own Teacher program. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 26(2), 207–225. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “In the Grow Your Own Teacher (GYOT) program, an initiative developed by a university located on Long Island, New York, and funded by a congressionally-directed grant, a diverse cohort of 11th grade low-income students were financially, academically, and emotionally supported in their goal of becoming math or science teachers in predominantly high needs local school districts. In this article, the formation and solidifying of the developmental relationships, which underscored this intensified mentoring effort, were examined. Throughout the selection and implementation phases of the GYOT program, data were collected from multiple sources from both the secondary and post-secondary levels and analyzed to illuminate the organizational structures, activities, and techniques, the relationship-building elements, which enabled these students to flourish and successfully address personal challenges in acquiring a college degree.”

Note: REL Midwest was unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this resource. Although REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible, it was determined that this resource may be of interest to you. It may be found through university or public library systems.

National Clearinghouse for Professions in Special Education. (2003). Enlarging the pool: How higher education partnerships are recruiting and supporting future special educators from underrepresented groups. Arlington, VA: Author. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “This guide identifies higher education strategies that effectively recruit and support future special educators from underrepresented groups. It begins with a list of common barriers to recruiting and retaining such students. Principles that make partnership efforts work are identified, such as a focus on connections, publicity, and flexibility/creativity. Ten specific recruitment strategies are explained. These include soliciting prospective teachers from the local diverse population; developing teacher cadet programs in K-12 schools with a diverse student body; including special education during ‘career nights’ or college recruitment fairs; advertising federally funded personnel preparation programs; and soliciting funds from minority owned local businesses. Among seven specific strategies for supporting students in teacher education programs are: having faculty members mentor students; providing learning support for students with disadvantaged educational backgrounds; offering study skills training; and securing funding for student expenses.”

Schmitz, S. A., Nourse, S. W., & Ross, M. E. (2012). Increasing teacher diversity: Growing your own through partnerships. Education, 133(1), 181–187. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “That the student population in public schools is becoming increasingly diverse is not all that surprising. Studies indicate that in less than three decades, a majority of children will likely belong to race-ethnic minorities. Conversely, teacher candidates are not keeping pace with the diversity ratio of students in the PK-12 public school classrooms. The diversity gap between teachers and the students they teach is only widening (McNulty & Brown, 2009). Central Washington University and the Renton School District have partnered to create a Recruiting Washington Teacher Academy dedicated to recruiting high school students of color to become teachers. The Academy encourages high school graduation, opens doors to higher education, and provides an orientation to the teaching profession.”

Note: REL Midwest was unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this resource. Although REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible, it was determined that this resource may be of interest to you. It may be found through university or public library systems.

Stevens, T., Agnello, M. F., Ramirez, J., Marbley, A., & Hamman, D. (2007). Project FUTURE: Opening doors to diverse West Texas teachers. Teacher Education Quarterly, 34(3), 103–120. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “Project FUTURE is one component of a multifaceted approach in the Northwest Texas region to target Hispanic and African-American youth, encouraging them to go through school with a desire to complete education programs leading to professional credentialing in teaching. Project FUTURE inspires students to believe that they can attend Texas Tech University and become teachers through the College of Education. In keeping with the mission and vision of the College of Education, Project FUTURE seeks to create educational, social, economic, and political opportunities by opening doors to all students in West Texas, with an extra effort to include the heretofore excluded. This article describes Project FUTURE and provides information about the underlying theoretical framework and preliminary evaluative information. The evaluative information covers two important issues. First, the results of within subject differences allow the evaluation of change in the participants on specific variables between one FUTURE experience and another. In other words, this information provides feedback concerning participants’ efficacy, outcome expectations, goals, and actions in relationship to becoming a teacher and lends insight into Project FUTURE’s role in the development of these variables. Unfortunately, without random assignment and the use of comparison groups, one cannot be certain that any observed changes can actually be attributed to the project. Even so, the second important piece of evaluative information, the testing of a theoretical model describing the framework for Project FUTURE, provides support that the FUTURE activities are related to the development of goals and actions to become educators. The credibility of this theoretical model is strengthened by the empirical support found in the current career development literature.”

Swanson, P. B. (2011). Georgia’s grow-your-own teacher programs attract the right stuff. The High School Journal, 94(3), 119–133. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “There is a shortage of educators and there are various factors that account for the lack of teachers. Millions of new teachers will be needed in the near future and the present study juxtaposes the vocational personality profiles of adolescents (N = 262) participating in Future Educators of America programs in Georgia to in-service teachers’ profiles as determined by Holland’s ‘Self-Directed Search’ inventory. Using Holland’s theoretical framework for congruence between one’s personality and the workplace as a lens, the results indicated that adolescents in the future educator programs shared the same Holland code as in-service teachers. Noting that teachers tend to return to the area in which they were raised, findings from this research have serious implications for the identification and recruitment of tomorrow’s teaching force.”

Note: REL Midwest was unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this resource. Although REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible, it was determined that this resource may be of interest to you. It may be found through university or public library systems.

Tandon, M., Bianco, M., & Zion, S. (2015). Pathways2Teaching: Being and becoming a “Rida.” In C. Sleeter, N. La Vonne, & K. Kumashiro (Eds.), Diversifying the teacher workforce: Preparing and retaining highly effective teachers (pp. 111–125). New York, NY: Routledge. Retrieved from

From the abstract: “This chapter describes Pathways2Teaching, a precollegiate program designed to engage high school students of color in exploring the teaching profession as an avenue for engaging with, giving back to, and righting wrongs within their communities. In order to increase the number of teachers of color in our nation’s schools, we must first develop students’ sociopolitical and critical consciousness as a means of disrupting the educational inequities they have experienced, for themselves and for their communities. Students with a strong sociopolitical consciousness not only view the world critically and understand the complexity of systems of oppression and privilege but also intentionally develop skills and a commitment to action to rectify those unjust systems (Watts, Williams, & Jagers, 2003). Furthermore, students begin to see teaching as a way to impact change in and for their community-an opportunity to become what Duncan-Andrade (2007) described as ‘Ridas’—a reference to a popular hip-hop term describing someone’s loyalty and commitment to their people. When describing highly effective urban teachers, Duncan-Andrade stated, ‘Ridas are consistently successful with a broad range of students…. The depth of their relationships with students allows them to challenge students and get notable effort and achievement’ (p. 623). Developing Ridas is the primary goal of the Pathways2Teaching program, which is an academically challenging course for students attending low-performing high schools.”

Note: REL Midwest was unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this resource. Although REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible, it was determined that this resource may be of interest to you. It may be found through university or public library systems.

Toshalis, E. (2013). Grow your own teachers for urban education. In H. R. Milner & K. Lomotey (Eds.), Handbook of urban education (pp. 217–238). Retrieved from

From the introduction: “GYO programs tend to target four separate groups for recruitment: middle or high school aged youth, post service military veterans, paraprofessional educators, and mid-career transitioning professionals. In this chapter, I focus solely on those programs aimed at preparing middle and high school students for careers in education because it is those programs that most capture the whole span of urban teacher development, from the aspirations of youth to the induction of professionals. As I will show, these ‘pipeline’ programs (Sleeter & Milner, 2011) offer not only rigor, relevance, responsiveness, and reform, but also that priceless component that is so critical to successful urban education: hope. This chapter is organized around the answers to three questions:

  1. What problems in urban education do GYO programs seek to remedy?
  2. What models for secondary GYO teacher education programs have been developed in the United States, and what commonalities and differences exist among these models?
  3. What do the answers to these questions suggest about the most promising future directions in GYO program development?”

Note: REL Midwest was unable to locate a link to the full-text version of this resource. Although REL Midwest tries to provide publicly available resources whenever possible, it was determined that this resource may be of interest to you. It may be found through university or public library systems.

Valenzuela, A. (2017). Grow Your Own educator programs: A review of the literature with an emphasis on equity-based approaches. San Antonio, TX: Equity Assistance Center Region II. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “This literature review provides an overview of the research on Grow Your Own (GYO) educator programs as a strategy for states and district to employ to help recruit and retain teachers of color. It emphasizes equitable approaches and critical perspectives that combine the powerful roles of ‘homegrown’ teachers, culturally-relevant curriculum and social justice pedagogy in addressing achievement and opportunity gaps, especially for the nation’s woefully underserved, largely urban schools serving students of color (e.g., Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005; Sanders & Rivers, 1996). This review begins with a summary of the vast inequities in the representation of teachers in color in our nation’s primary and secondary schools. It next defines important terms in GYO scholarship, such as pathways, pipelines, and partnerships (Gist, Bianco, & Lynn, in press). Next follows a discussion of community solidarity, which provides helpful language for distinguishing GYO models like those examined here, from perhaps many, if not most, university-based teacher preparation programs in the United States (Zeichner, 2016; Kretchmar & Zeichner, 2016). The review ends with a summary of specific GYO-program types that could potentially not only increase equity in terms of the number of teachers of color entering the profession but also help ensure that those teachers are critically conscious leaders (Valenzuela, 2016).”

Additional Organizations to Consult

Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) Teacher Cadet program, South Carolina –

From the website: “CERRA provides a number of programs that serve as a national model for teacher recruitment and teacher leadership initiatives. CERRA segments its program offerings into three areas: Pre-Collegiate, Collegiate, and Service…Our Services. CERRA offers an array of services and programs that impact the recruitment, retention, and advancement of teachers from middle school through their professional careers. Our services are designed to support our mission and help public schools locate high quality educators to lead classrooms.”

Educators Rising –

From the website: “Educators Rising is a free national membership organization for aspiring teachers and their mentors. If you are leading or participating in a school-based program that helps young people explore teaching—in secondary or postsecondary—consider joining Educators Rising to connect with peers and experts around the country who are focusing on the same issues and challenges.”


Keywords and Search Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:


  • “Career cluster” “education and training”

  • “Educators Rising”

  • “grow your own” descriptor: “high school students”

  • state programs to recruit high school students to become teachers

  • “targeted teacher recruitment”

  • Teacher academies descriptor: “high school students”

  • Teacher cadet

  • Teacher learner academies

  • Teacher pipeline descriptor: “high school students”

Databases and Search Engines

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of more than 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Additionally, we searched IES and Google Scholar.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published over the last 15 years, from 2003 to present, were included in the search and review.

  • Search priorities of reference sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations.

  • Methodology: We used the following methodological priorities/considerations in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types—randomized control trials, quasi-experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, and so forth, generally in this order, (b) target population, samples (e.g., representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected), study duration, and so forth, and (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, and so forth.
This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL Midwest) at American Institutes for Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Midwest under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0007, administered by American Institutes for Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.