The number of black public school teachers in some of the nation’s largest cities dropped markedly between 2002 and 2012, according to a new study by the AFT-funded Albert Shanker Institute.
The study, which looked at teacher data from nine cities, raises questions about whether school districts are doing enough to maintain diverse teaching forces.
Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. all saw a significant decline in the number of black teachers in traditional and charter schools, according to the research.
The largest drop took place in Washington, where between 2003 and 2011 the share of black teachers shrank from 77 percent to 49 percent.
The study cites as causes school closures, layoffs during the recession and high quit rates among minority teachers due to their feeling that they have a lack of autonomy in their work and little input into school decisions.
“Diversity is a key component to equality and opportunity,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten, who has asked the Obama administration to call a White House summit on teacher diversity. “Where there’s a diverse teaching workforce, all kids thrive. That’s why we note with alarm the sharp decline in the population of black teachers in our cities.”
The Washington Post, Sept. 15