Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Philadelphia Daily News - As the school year begins, Philadelphia School District officials face a seldom-discussed dilemma: The percentage of African-American teachers is declining, and now stands at its lowest point in decades.

And students are suffering as a result, a growing body of research shows. One national organization found that increasing the percentage of black teachers is directly related to closing the so-called achievement gap - students of color lagging behind white peers. . .

Diversity advocates say that the situation has reached a point where the continued loss of black teachers has made it impossible for the district to achieve a racially balanced teaching force - a stipulation of a 30-year-old agreement with the federal Office of Civil Rights.

In 1978, when that agreement took effect, 36 percent of the district's teachers were black. Today, the figure has declined to 29 percent, the district says.

At the same time, the percentage of black students in the public schools has remained relatively stable at more than 60 percent.

To be sure, the trend is not confined to Philadelphia. Other school districts across the country also are grappling with declining numbers of black teachers while the number of students of color is increasing. . .

An analysis by the National Collaborative on Diversity in the Teaching Force found that increasing the percentage of teachers of color in classrooms is directly connected to closing the achievement gap. . .

Experts say that the number of black teachers is declining for various reasons, including higher pay in other school districts and in other professions.

C. Kent McGuire, dean of Temple University's College of Education, said that black women in particular have found increasing opportunities in "medicine, dentistry, law, you name it."

Black enrollment in the College of Education dropped from 17 percent in 2005 to 12 percent last year, he said.

The federal No Child Left Behind Act - which requires teachers to pass certification exams to keep their jobs - has abetted the decline in black teachers, a growing number of educators believe.

Although the district and the state Department of Education could not provide local numbers, the Educational Testing Service says that among African-American teacher candidates nationally, 69 percent are passing the certification tests, compared with 91 percent of white candidates.


At September 12, 2008 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but to me this type of 'finding' is inherently racist itself. No one has ever put forth the theory that White students somehow do less well when instructed by Black teachers (and you can bet in these PC obsessed times no one would be too likely to suggest such a 'finding', either), and I for one fail to see how there is some correlative between a teacher's relative melanin content and the ability of their students to learn from them based on it. Crap is crap irrespective of the race spouting it, and stories like this pretty clearly are crap.


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