Increasing diversity in teacher education is a cornerstone of U.S. Department of Education Secretary John King’s approach to directing education policy in this country. In the May 2016 report on diversity, it is clear that although diversity is increasing for some racial groups, it is not changing appreciably for Native American educators.
In Montana, where Native American students make up nearly 14% of the student population, only about 2.5% of educators are Native American. Although some districts are trying initiatives to boost their numbers of Native teachers, there appears to be no statewide initiative to do so. In some areas there are local incentives such as ILEAD through Montana State University and science educator support at Salish Kootenai College.
The Montana Office of Public Instruction’s state equity plan addresses the need for excellent teachers in every district, even hard-to-staff rural and reservation schools. It discusses various initiatives and programs including Striving Readers, New Teacher Induction Project, and American Indian achievement. It does not include plans for increasing teacher diversity.
NCTE has made a commitment to increasing diversity in the teacher force, but this resolution dates back to 1990.