Access to Well-Credentialed, Effective, and Diverse Teachers in North Carolina’s Largest Districts

In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), 5.25% of the core classes for White non-Economically Disadvantaged (ED) students were taught by a first-year teacher in 2018-19. Rates of exposure were twice as high for Black ED students (12.06%) and Hispanic ED students (10.64%). This inequity matters because, even though first year teachers have to start somewhere, they tend to be less effective at driving student achievement outcomes.

In a factsheet from the Education Policy Initiative at Carolina (EPIC), the distribution of well-credentialed, effective, and diverse teachers in CMS, Wake County, and the 10 other large NC districts is examined. This research includes students in all grade levels (K-12), considers multiple indicators of student marginalization, and assesses a range of teacher credential, performance, and demographic measures.

The takeaway: students from historically marginalized populations have less access to well-credentialed and effective teachers. These differences in access are meaningful in size and show that teachers are distributed in ways that compound inequalities. There are large mismatches between the demographics of K-12 students and the teacher workforce. White students frequently have White teachers; it is much less likely for students of color to have a same-race teacher.

EPIC provides district policies and practices to strengthen teacher recruitment, retention and working conditions, especially in high-poverty schools, such as retention bonuses, teacher leadership roles, and improving student teacher experiences.

In CMS and Wake County a large majority of the variation in access to effective teachers is between schools—i.e. certain district schools have teachers who are more effective. This matters because it helps direct district officials towards policy and practice solutions.

—Kevin Bastian, Director of Research at EPIC

Access to Well-Credentialed, Effective, and Diverse Teachers in North Carolina’s Largest Districts
March 2021
Authored by: Kevin Bastian

In 2019, The Belk Foundation placed greater emphasis on equitable access to effective teachers by expanding the pool and extending the reach of effective teachers.