"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Segregation of Students, Segregation of Teachers

A new report from the Civil Rights Project at Harvard, which will soon be moving to UCLA:

This report shows that in an increasingly segregated national system of schools, faculty segregation tends to add to — rather than counteract — the separation of students. We see that the white teachers, who continue to dominate the teaching profession, tend to grow up with little racial/ethnic diversity in their own education or experience. Not only did white teachers, on average, attend schools when they were elementary school students that were over 90% white, they are currently teaching in schools where almost 90% of their faculty colleagues are white and over 70% of students are white.

“America’s public schools and schools of education must work to create a diverse teaching force to serve a changing nation and assure that all schools seek integrated faculties to better prepare our students,” commented Gary Orfield, Director of the Civil Rights Project.

Additional findings include:

  • White teachers teach in schools with fewer poor and English Language Learner students. The typical black teacher teaches in a school were nearly three-fifths of students are from low-income families while the average white teacher has only 35% of low-income students.
  • Latino and Asian teachers are in schools that educate more than twice the share of English Language Learners than white teachers.
  • The South has the most diverse teaching force of any region in the country, along with the most integrated students. One-quarter of southern teachers are nonwhite, and 19% of southern teachers are African-American. Early concerns about the loss of African American teachers at the beginning of desegregation in the South no longer holds.
  • The West is the only region of the country with a sizeable percentage (11%) of Latino teachers. The majority of students in the West are nonwhite, with a large share of Latino students.
  • Nonwhite teachers and teachers that teach in schools with high percentages of minority and/or poor students are more likely to report that they are contemplating switching schools or careers.
  • The percentage of white teachers is lower in schools that did not make adequate yearly progress, a standard defined by the No Child Left Behind Act.
  • Schools with high concentrations of nonwhite and poor students tend to have less experience and qualified teachers despite NCLB’s emphasis that qualified teachers be equally distributed.
  • Nonwhite teachers are often teaching in schools that may be more difficult to teach in.

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