Why Aren’t There More Black Teachers? Racial Discrimination Still Plays A Role
“I think this is just another example of how ideas about race and racism, to be frank, are deeply embedded in the schools.”
Policy surrounding the nation’s shortage of black teachers tends to focus around recruitment or retention. However, new research suggests that those two issues are only part of the problem. The other culprit is blatant racial discrimination.
A Harvard Educational Review study looks at the hiring patterns of one large unidentified public school district. Job applicants in this district apply to a central office before human resources sends the relevant resumes to school principals. Principals then set up interviews with applicants and decide to whom they want to extend an offer.
In 2012, the black and white teachers who applied for jobs in the district were equally qualified, researchers found. However, white teachers received a disproportional number of job offers.
Although 13 percent of job applicants were black, only 6 percent received offers. On the other hand, 70 percent of applicants were white, and 77 percent received offers. Black teachers disproportionately received job offers from schools with black principals. Black teachers were also disproportionately hired in schools with high rates of low-income and minority students.
Hispanic and Asians candidates were hired at a proportional rate to the number of applicants, making the imbalance unique to black teachers.
District leaders were shocked by the results, said study author and researcher Diana D’Amico, who is an assistant professor at George Mason University. The district prides itself on its effort to recruit minority applicants and “created this story that there’s not more black teachers because black individuals are not applying,” said D’Amico.
At first, district leaders suggested that perhaps 2012 had been an unusual year for hiring. But D’Amico found no evidence of this.
“I think this is just another example of how ideas about race and racism, to be frank, are deeply embedded in the schools,” said D’Amico. “The other thing is, if there are these racial assumptions that inhibit the hiring of black individuals, I wonder how those same perceptions influence teachers once they’re already in the system.”
Indeed, minority teachers tend to have lower rates of retention than their white counterparts. Nationwide, during the 2012-2013 school year, the turnover rate for minority Why Aren't There More Black Teachers? Racial Discrimination Still Plays A Role | The Huffington Post: