The Illinois State Board of Education is establishing affinity groups for educators of color through a partnership with Sangamon-Menard Regional Office of Education 51, Teach Plus Illinois, and the Golden Apple Foundation. The affinity groups will bring educators of color together to build a supportive community, examine current issues they face, and make recommendations that address those issues.
Submit the Interest Form to Join an Affinity Group
The affinity groups are part of ISBE's three-year
to support educator retention by leveraging partnerships that will provide access to coaching, mentoring, and teacher leadership opportunities. ISBE began reporting the three-year teacher retention rate disaggregated by race/ethnicity for the first time in 2021. The data show that Illinois schools retain Black teachers at the lowest rate of all teacher groups – 80.6 percent, compared to an 87.6 percent rate for White teachers.
Research from the Learning Policy Institute also shows that teachers of color boost the academic performance of students of color, including better reading and math test scores, higher graduation rates, and increased aspirations to attend college. Studies show that students taught by teachers of the same race/ethnicity are less likely to be chronically absent and less likely to experience exclusionary discipline.
Illinois Affinity Group Facilitators Network
The Illinois Affinity Group Facilitators Network is led by and for teachers of color. The network is home to 46 facilitators who were selected to bring together groups of teachers of color to identify and address local issues that contribute to the lower retention rates of teachers of color. The facilitators will work in various regions across the state to bring together educators to develop recommendations to retain teachers of color. The affinity groups have access to implementation funds to support group activities, including stipends for participants serving on advocacy action teams.
Educators interested in joining an affinity group or learning more can fill out an