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Examining Teacher Diversity and Pathways in Washington State

June 28, 2021

Like many states, Washington faces a shortage of teachers of color in its K-12 public schools. Although the number and percentage of students of color are growing, few of these students have teachers who share their race or ethnicity, which can have consequences for student achievement and well-being. Washington state has taken steps to address this issue, including changing teacher testing policies to better support teacher candidates of color. As part of this work, REL Northwest investigated where teacher candidates—especially candidates of color—are most likely to leave the Washington teacher preparation and career pathway.

Looking at 63,497 teacher candidates who participated in at least one of six steps in the pathway during 2010-19, this study found that Hispanic and non-Hispanic candidates of color were less likely than White candidates to complete each step, took longer to complete each step, and were less likely to become a certificated (certified) educator in a Washington state K-12 public school. The study findings suggest that education policymakers consider revising policies and programs to increase the number of teachers of color.

Pathways to Teaching: Teacher Diversity, Testing, Certification, and Employment in Washington State
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