“Black teachers flee schools, leading to concerns about diversity,” warned the Washington Post headline. I’m less concerned about “diversity” and more about why teachers — black or otherwise — would “flee.”
The study found a significant drop between 2002 and 2012 in the percentage of teachers who are black in nine large city public schools systems — Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
In New Orleans, the percentage of black teachers fell from 74 to 51 percent, while the percentage of white teachers rose from 25 to 43 percent. In the nation’s capital, black teachers tumbled from 77 to 49 percent, while white teachers went from 16 to 39 percent.
“The whole effort . . . toward minority-teacher recruitment . . . [has] been an unheralded victory, really,” argues the University of Pennsylvania’s Richard Ingersoll. “The problem is with retention. Minority teachers have significantly higher quit rates than non-minority teachers.”
Some argue the problem is a system that micromanages teachers. Others cite the expansion of “teacher evaluation systems.” Neither reason explains the racial discrepancy.
However, black teachers do appear to be overrepresented in rougher, lower-performing schools — often with large minority populations. That may be causing a higher “quit rate.”
It may also be purposeful. As The Post article informs, “[R]esearch has suggested that students who are racially paired with teachers — black teachers working with black students and Hispanic teachers working with Hispanic students — do better academically.”
So, all the talk of diversity is aimed at keeping students and teachers with their own race?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
Note: My Townhall column last Sunday was a longer treatment of this subject.