Teacher Certification Criteria: A Barrier to Potential Latinx Educators

Did you know that per a Department of Education report “forty-nine percent of Hispanic [Latinx] bachelor’s degree students majoring in education completed a bachelor’s degree six years after beginning postsecondary education”? Unfortunately, those that are fortunate enough to graduate with an education degree still have a difficult time actually getting into teaching.

According to an April 2018 report from the Learning Policy Institute, a surprising barrier for teacher of color recruitment is that “teacher licensure exams […] disproportionately exclude teacher candidates of color despite little evidence that these exams predict teacher effectiveness.” As states elevate the criteria for those interested in entering the teaching profession, people of color are systematically being discouraged and prevented from becoming teachers. As it relates to potential Latinx educators, here are some of the challenges (according to Chalkbeat) they face in becoming teachers after receiving their education degrees:

  • 34 states have strict GPA requirements (KS: 2.75 overall GPA; MO: 2.75 overall GPA & 3.0 GPA in professional coursework). A 3.0 GPA is the most common requirement, preventing roughly 33% of Hispanic (Latinx) college graduates from entering the profession
  • Hispanic (Latinx) candidates are 20% less likely to pass the Praxis I exam than their White counterparts
  • The fees associated with certification can be prohibitive to people of color
  • Hispanic (Latinx) teachers are about twice as likely as their White counterparts to enter the teaching profession through alternative certification programs, which some states limit

Is certification too strict for aspiring educators of color? Does GPA translate to teacher effectiveness? The research might surprise you (more of that in another blog post). It is important to remember that data show that ALL students benefit when exposed to diverse educators. By unnecessarily weeding out potential teachers of color (particularly those that have graduated with education degrees), we are minimizing the potential of students of color to achieve the best educational outcomes.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any creative solutions?


One thought on “Teacher Certification Criteria: A Barrier to Potential Latinx Educators

  1. A couple of thoughts:
    Grades and GPA say a lot about the person’s overall success but doesn’t tell the whole story of that person’s journey. As an educator in higher ed I see students who struggle in less demanding courses because they don’t look at the whole picture of their educational path. Meaning that some don’t put in as much work or the work required because the course is perceived to not be that hard. Or others have a ‘C’ grade is still passing mentality and satisfies their attainment. Looking at each class as an obstacle to overcome that semester or month or week or day is not the best approach. Getting students to see the forest instead of each tree may help them understand that yes, each leaf matters because it adds to the complete picture of the forest.
    Second point, LatinX students do not utilize all the available resources. There are a number of reasons, lack of knowledge or awareness of the resource is the main one. Using these resources allows them a change of venue that is less stressed and opens them up to additional or supplemental knowledge gain.

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