Walton Family Foundation Awards $3.5 Million for Teacher Diversity

Walton Family Foundation Awards $3.5 Million for Teacher Diversity

The NewSchools Venture Fund in Oakland, California, has announced a $3.5 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation in support of efforts to increase diversity among pre-K-12 teachers.

NewSchools will use the grant to fund strategies and programs designed to enhance the recruitment, development, and retention of underrepresented teachers, including African Americans, Latinx, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans/Alaska Natives. To that end, up to fourteen grants averaging $200,000 will be awarded in support of projects aimed at strengthening teacher pipelines, hiring practices, policy development, and classroom instruction. Grant recipients will participate in in-person convenings and receive management and capacity-building assistance, including access to NewSchools' network of experts and partners. The outcomes of the initiatives will be shared broadly with educators, policy makers, and leaders, enabling others to learn from successful approaches that support great teachers and meaningful learning.

According to NewSchools, a significant research base shows that teacher diversity in the classroom leads to higher expectations, lower discipline referral rates, and better academic outcomes, especially for students of color, who represent more than half of the entire K-12 student population; currently, fewer than one in five educators are persons of color.

"Today's students are the most racially diverse in the history of this country," said NewSchools senior managing partner Frances Messano, "and it's time to have teachers who match that diversity."

"Our schools and students thrive when educators reflect the rich diversity of our country," said Walton Family Foundation board member Alice L. Walton. "Achieving this requires a deeper commitment and greater effort to support educators from all backgrounds."