Analysis of Teacher Demographics
The Decline of Black Teachers
We are in the midst of uncovering why there has been such a steep decline in the population of Black teachers in Baltimore City. Over the past decade the proportion of Black teachers in Baltimore’s teaching force has declined from 67% to 38%. We are analyzing this trend using quantitative and qualitative data. Using the Freedom of Information Act, we obtained a database that shows teacher demographics for every teacher hired or employed from 2003 to 2016. TDP staff is working with a data analyst to go through the data on a school by school basis in order to generate ideas for how this trend could be reversed. From a qualitative point of view, TDP is collecting stories and making a video about how this change actually affected people. We have thus far interviewed over 20 teachers, education advocates and academics to determine some of the causes.
The interviews are revealing several trends: (i) Baltimore City’s hiring practices have dramatically changed from relying on recruitment from local Historically Black Colleges and University like Morgan State University, to using alternative certification programs like Teach for America, who predominantly recruit white suburban middle class people. (ii) There are issues around the teacher listing exams including Praxis. Some experts think that the Praxis exam is not an effective measure of how well a teacher is going to do in the classroom and ultimately presents a barrier to teachers of color. (iii) Some have stated that neoliberal school reform efforts, ranging from testing and merit based pay to the data used for accountability have made it difficult to be creative in teaching. These reforms punish teachers who teach in low income communities. (iv) Some spoke about how former CEO Alonso’s philosophy of cleaning house and hiring TFA teachers exacerbated the high turnover rate of Black teachers. (v) Teachers also talked about racial discrimination in school.
Some of the solutions our interviewees have posed include: having more home grown teachers, and providing more teacher supports like mentoring and professional development. We are currently having conversations with North Avenue including the new CEO Santelises, the Baltimore Teachers Union, and several union caucuses to better understand the issue from their standpoints, and to consider what the district can/will do to hire and retain more Black teachers.
The following are a list of articles and books on the decline of black and brown teachers: