The American Federation of Teachers’ (AFT) Albert Shanker Institute released a report this week showing modest progress in teacher diversity across the country, though the number of Black teachers are falling dramatically in some major cities.
In the nine cities studied—Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Cleveland, Los Angeles and San Francisco—the teacher-diversity picture is much bleaker, with only a few pockets of progress surrounded by serious setbacks.
According to AFT President Randi Weingarten, who is the Shanker Institute’s board president, “Diversity is a key component to equality and opportunity. 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,” she said. “As a first step to turning this around, we are calling for a national summit on teacher diversity in urban areas.”
Key findings from the report:
In all nine cities, the share of the workforce represented by Black teachers declined—in many cases dramatically. The population of Black teachers has fallen by even larger numbers.
Although Latinos’ share of the teacher workforce remained stable or grew slightly, the growth in Latino student population means very little progress has been made in closing the teacher-student representation gap;
The representation gap is more pronounced in charters than in district schools;
Nationally, the research shows the biggest obstacle to greater teacher diversity is teacher attrition: Minority teachers are leaving, the evidence shows, because of a lack of collective voice in decisions in their schools and a lack of professional autonomy.
For the full report go to www.shankerinstitute.org/resource/teacherdiversity