Closing the Representation Gap: A Series of Papers

By diversifying teacher and school leader pipelines, we empower more students to realize their futures. Read the first in our series of papers on reshaping educational leadership for the future.
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The face of education leadership is changing, but not fast enough. Consider Dr. Miguel Cardona, the U.S. Secretary of Education. He was an English-language learner in school. Today, there are approximately five million students in the US who identify as English-language learners, just like Dr. Cardona, who can look to him as an example of what is possible. 

That kind of representation—the ability to see yourself reflected in the leaders around you—is invaluable when 54% of all K-12 public school students identify as people of color. ​​Yet, the percentage of teachers (21%), principals (22%), and superintendents (8%) who identify as people of color has not kept pace. This difference is called a representation gap. 

At New Leaders, we are pleased to launch a series of papers on how we can begin to close that representation gap at every level: from teachers of color moving into more leadership to district leaders investing in job-embedded leadership development for aspiring principals. 

Learn why representation is important right now and how we can begin to close the representation gap.

Discover how teachers of color can elevate their voices and help direct solutions by building their leadership capacity today. 

As schools face increasingly complex challenges, there has never been a more critical time for teachers of color to step into more leadership and consider moving into the principal role. Research shows that a great principal accounts for about 25% of a school’s impact on student learning. Research also shows that leaders of color deliver better outcomes for students of color and attract and retain more high-quality teachers of color. 

We know disparities within our K-12 education system limit access to resources, opportunities, and support. While representation does not fix these larger systemic challenges, it can fuel student success in classrooms and schools across our nation. 

“The scarcity of representative leadership in our schools is a national crisis,” observes Jean Desravines, CEO, New Leaders. “It demands nothing less than our full attention and strongest commitment so that every student has a chance at success.”

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