The corporate reformers have wreaked havoc in schools across the nation. They’ve promoted charter schools and vouchers, slapped the “failing” label on struggling schools and students, and shut educators out of the dialogue. In the process, public education in many communities has suffered. And there’s been another result as well.
“In one of the most far-reaching consequences of the past decade’s wave of education reform, the nation has lost tens of thousands of experienced black teachers and principals,” Kristina Rizga writes for Mother Jones magazine in “Black Teachers Matter.”
Over the past several years, “26,000 African American teachers have disappeared from the nation’s public schools—even as the overall teaching workforce has increased by 134,000.” This is not only a teacher disappearance act; we’re also losing black principals, coaches, cafeteria workers, nurses, counselors and other educators.
As an association, we have focused on turning the trend around by promoting partnerships between local school systems and higher education institutions with strong teacher preparation programs, particularly historically black colleges and universities.
Very often, the loss of black teachers is driven by closures of schools that are targeted as “failing” because of low test scores. A study by the Albert Shanker Institute showed how sharply the number of black teachers declined in the nation’s largest urban school districts from 2000 to 2012. In New Orleans, for instance, the percentage of black teachers fell by more than 62 percent. In Chicago and Cleveland, the proportion dropped by 39.2 percent and 33.9 Black Teachers Matter - Lily's Blackboard: