Sunday, May 25, 2008

Racial Policies at Tweed: Disappearing Black Teachers

Joel Klein calls the achievement gap "The Shame of the Nation" as he races to black churches to sell his program of change in the NYC schools. But the real shame just may be the drastic drop in the number of black teacher hires in the BloomKlein years from 27.2% in 2001/02 to 14.1% in 2006/7 according to a report from the
black educator blog.

From 1990 - 2002 it rose steadily from 16% - 27%.
Also the % of Hispanic teachers has dropped from a high of 18% in the mid-90's to 11% today, though the numbers are fairly consistent under BloomKlein and the drop began before they took over. At the height, Hispanic an African Americans mader up over 40% of new recruits and that has dropped to 25%.
And the % of white teacher recruits has risen from 49% - 65%.

I'm not quick to charge racism and would love to get some analysis to explain the drop.
Teach for America - what % of the recruits are black?
Teaching Fellows? I thought Tweed was claiming a higher % than 14%.
Cuts in college programs? Less kids going to college from the very community BloomKlein was supposedly targetting? Maybe we just have to wait for all those KIPP kids to go through college.
Another explanation is the loss of paras who were in the career ladder program to become teachers.
Any more ideas out there?

Check the original Sam Anderson post at this Teachers Unite site.

Leonie' Haimson's comment:
DOE data shows sharp drop in % of black and Hispanic teachers hired since 1994. Studies show that the students of a different race than their teachers have worse outcomes – except in smaller classes, when racial disparities no longer appear to have an effect.

Veteran Black educator, activist and native Brooklynite, Sam Anderson, was recently asked by "Teachers Unite" five questions dealing with New York City's crisis of diminishing numbers of Black and Latino teachers as the student population becomes increasingly more Black and Latino. See:

Black Educator: NYC's Disappearing Black/Latino Public School Teachers.

Ethnicity of New Hires* by School Year: 1990-91 through 2005-06

School Year: Ethnicity
Amer. Indian Asian Black Hisp White Unknown
1990-91 0.3% 3.2% 16.0% 11.9% 49.5% 19.1%
1991-92 0.1% 3.2% 16.0% 15.3% 58.4% 6.9%
1992-93 0.3% 2.9% 17.9% 15.1% 59.6% 4.2%
1993-94 0.4% 3.1% 18.4% 13.9% 59.6% 4.5%
1994-95 0.3% 3.2% 23.4% 18.4% 53.9% 0.8%
1995-96 0.3% 3.1% 22.9% 18.4% 54.1% 1.3%
1996-97 0.3% 3.4% 19.0% 14.4% 60.3% 2.6%
1997-98 0.4% 3.8% 20.1% 15.3% 56.7% 3.7%
1998-99 0.2% 3.8% 22.1% 15.2% 57.5% 1.1%
1999-00 0.2% 4.4% 24.8% 16.4% 53.8% 0.5%
2000-01 0.2% 4.2% 25.5% 16.3% 53.3% 0.4%
2001-02 0.2% 4.9% 27.2% 14.3% 53.3% 0.2%

Bloomberg Klein Years

2002-03 0.2% 5.6% 20.1% 12.7% 61.1% 0.3%

2003-04 0.2% 7.2% 16.7% 10.6% 65.0% 0.3%

2004-05 0.2% 8.3% 16.0% 11.1% 63.3% 1.2%

2005-06 0.3% 7.2% 14.5% 11.7% 65.0% 1.3%

2006-07* 0.3% 6.1%
14.1% 11.7% 65.5% 2.3%

*New Hires includes teachers who were hired between 8/25 through 10/31 of
each year. ** Data on the 2006-07 New Hires is current as of 8.22.2006

Teachers Unite: How have the demographics of New York City's public school population, among teachers and students, changed since you've been involved in education?

Sam Anderson: Over the past 40 years New York City's public schools have gone from being comprised of predominantly white students to one that is now predominantly Black, Latino and Asian students. However, when we look at the racial breakdown of the teaching and administrative staff, they are still overwhelmingly white to the point that nearly 80% of the teachers are white. All we have to do is look at the Department of Education's own data. More specifically, when we look at the sixteen year record of the racial breakdown of new hires, we see the re-enforcement of white teacher dominance clearly built into the DOE's personnel structure. Below are the data from the DOE about new hires (this was not easy to come by. But thanks to the persistent work of an Amsterdam News journalist, it is now in the public light).

Today's DOE new hires are more skewed towards white teachers than 10 years ago! This is clearly a reflection of the mindset of the top DOE officials who surround themselves in Tweed with white professionals and Black & Latino supportive staff (from security to low-mid level administrative staff). In addition, this high level staff is dominated by non-educators... from Klein on down to the mid-level corporate-like structures overseeing the actual nuts and bolts of the schooling process.


  1. Norm:

    Dare we ask what percentage of the TFA-Ivy League elite are black/Hispanic?


  2. Yes we dare. I'm sure that info is readily available.
    Also - dare we ask the % of black teachers at KIPP?

  3. 1. A 50% decline in new hires of Black and Latina educators in NYC over the last five years is a dramatic reversal, particularly given the high rate of turnover among NYC teachers.

    2. This "Disappearing" of Black and Latina educators in NYC, (which is at the same time a 'whitening') is a premptive strike at labor solidarity. Teacher unionists must affirm in word and deed that an Injury to One is An Injury To All or forfeit all that solidarity offers.

    2. If Edwize or the NY Teacher won't address the 'Disappearing" in unequivocally critical terms (which they have stubbornly refused to even report on for the past four years), then they have gone further than Shanker and Feldman ever did in shelving even token UFT support for racial justice in NYC schools. Leadership on this most central issue is a matter of urgency to defend learning and working conditions in the public schools. It falls to the opposition to make the case for Solidarity to the membership and to unite teachers with the communities of color we serve.

    3. Opposition to the 'disappearing' is a matter of the utmost importance to pedagogues of all levels, races and creeds whose job it is to teach, practice and model democracy to a new generation. White supremacy and racial privileges are the opposites of democracy.

    4. Sam Anderson's remarks have the effect of pulling back the veil over the BloomKlein 'reforms' which promised to "Put Children First" but which in practice have disappeared Black and Latina educators. Acknowledging what is wrong with their 'reform' is the basis for putting things right as Mayoral Control twilights in 2009. The 'disappearing' is a damnable legacy of Mayoral control.

    5. The silence to date from the UFT leadership is collusion of the whitest and most damaging kind. It runs concurrent with the initial endorsement of Mayoral control by Randi Weingarten and may be fairly adjudged to be part of her record as UFT President. She has expressed misgivings about Mayoral control but not a word about the 'disappearing'. Now that she seeks to move up to Presidency of the AFT, her silence on disappearing Black and Latina K-12 pedagogues from the ranks of the UFT should be made known to the AFT convention delegates.

    6. Should the AFT promote to its highest office one who has shirked the most fundamental duty of a labor leader in the current context, let no delegate say, "I never knew", before she or he cast their vote.


  4. Clearly this whitening is a major problem from every angle and for all the players.

    You may not have come across this comment in Edwize. It was posted by Phyllis Murray in response to Casey's "Watch What They Do" blog on the ATR situation. Murray first cites this from the National Law Journal:

    "The EEOC also has seen a substantial increase over the past 15 years in discrimination claims based on color, which have soared from 374 in 1992 to 1,241 in 2006.”

    She then adds :
    "Therefore, perhaps it is more likely for one to have ATRs in our schools to fill the daily vacancies who represent Africans, Hispanics , Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians than any other group. Age discrimination may also be evident within this population of minorities. Therefore an age discrimination suit is needed. And in the process of further examination, other information might surface regarding the myriad ways minorities are excluded from equal opportunities for full employment in our public schools."

  5. There are almost no white teachers at your alma mater, George Gershwin jhs.

  6. The buzz is that there's a higher rate of black people in rubber rooms.

  7. Here's the breakdown for the 2007 cohort of NYC Teaching Fellows:

    Application Information

    Applications: 19,846
    Offers of admission: 3,214
    Entered training: 1,700

    Ethnic Breakdown of Fellows Who Began Teaching

    White (not of Hispanic origin): 55%

    Black (not of Hispanic origin): 20%

    Hispanic: 16%

    Asian or Pacific Islander: 7%

    Other: 2%

    The statistics are pulled from the NYCTF website.

  8. Maybe the 14% comes purely from Teach for America - are 20% of the teachers the recuit black or is it say 5%? Any info out there?

  9. The DoE rubber rooms are filled with so-called colored people, some of them are paras, who are mostly minorities, but there are disproportionate amount minority teachers winded in the rubber rooms as minority teachers more often than not are outside of a principals inner circle, naturally they are more likely to be scapegoated and pushed out by a pincipal who are more often to be white than any other race.

  10. Maybe or maybe not, the racial issues in the DoE have not reached a critical point when a massive class action lawsuit will be brought against DoE for its discrimitary practices, and to UFT for its unfair representation. The dam is ripe to break down when the last straw is added.

    Teacher4action, a group of 60+ rubber room teachers, currently sues DoE and UFT in federal court for age discrimination among a host of other things, but the arguement of age discrimination is pretty weak, what DoE does is not really an issue of age discrimination, it is more of experience or salary discrimination, which by itself does not fall under Title VII, and it is not really illegal unless you can somehow tie it to Title VII of Civil Right Law of 1968.

    Because of UFT unwillingness and/or insensitivity to the needs of minority teachers, or because UFT, DoE are just different sides of same coin, UFT can not and will not take on a civil right issue. UFT loves the status quo and will employ any mesns legal or illegal to keep the status quo of sucking the dues, which are about one percnet of total DoE budget (15 billions).

  11. Keep in mind the PAC -Progressive Action Caucus - suit has been reactiviated after it was originally thrown out of court.

    PAC was a caucus consisting of mostly minority teachers who sued over losing their jobs over the licensing exam issue. After the suit they fell apart but did run as a partner with ICE in the 2004 elections.

    We had a bunch of great discussions over the issue of people who fail the exam, especially when the result was a big cut in teachers of color. There are many nuances to this situation too comples to go into here - nothing is ever simple open and shut.

  12. Keep in mind that BloomKlein do not want career educators. They are more interested in quick turn around so that the salaries will be kept at a minimum. Black and Latino educators that are local will be more likely to commit to a lifetime of service. BloomKlein can't have that.....

  13. Just some information you may find useful in analyzing this data:

    1. After 2002, NYC was not allowed to hire any more uncertified teachers, per state regulations enacted in September 2003 and this disproportionately affected the hiring of teachers of color. The majority of uncertified teachers that were being hired to that point were minorities and over 3000 (per old NY Sun article) were terminated in August 2003 under the new state mandate. To help ease in this transition, NYC prevented the hiring of any new uncertified teachers in non-shortage teachers, such as elementary, in August 2002 when you see the big dropoff. I think that is what affecting the trends you are reporting post-2002. You see a continous decline 2004 and going forward as even more pathways for people to get a teaching certificate without passing exams and meeting other standards were eliminated, such as the "limited certificate."

    2. Data shows that alternative certification teachers coming to NYC (TFA, Fellows) and other districts are actually more diverse than the traditionally certified teacher pool that is hired. Nationally, about 90% of certified teachers are white (see NEA data). Based on that depressing stat, it would almost be impossible for the alternative programs not to be more diverse than the certified teachers that are being hired. The big problem is who is going into teaching preparation programs and finishing all the requirements... Also, checkout the lawsuit against NYSED re: certification exams and disporportionate affect on minorities (Gulino) for more information on these issues.

  14. ...that would be disparate effect.. too much memorial day sun, obviously.

  15. Valid points - Ed Notes addressed these issues at the time - I was never comfortable calling the UFT or the DOE racist and in fact Randi has done a lot to diversify the Exec Bd.

    But Sam Anderson, who I met formally for the first time at the radical math conference, makes some interesting points about the lack of interest or any initiative to recruit black teachers. And that may also apply to TFA unless someone can point to their recruiters doing that.

    I met a bunch of black Teaching Fellows, some of whom I mentored and I do believe the DOE would love to have more black teachers. But that might take an investment - like why not have CUNY waive some tuition if people go into teaching?

  16. Personally, I believe that DoE can be successfully sued for its discrimitary practices by employing disparate impact, in which the proof of the motive is not required as long as there are the proof that much higher percentage of minority teachers in the rubber room than their percentage in the total teaching force. But it will be an arduous fight that might last 5 to 10 years, while at same time, Klein is the best news for these educational attorneys whose case loads just explode as the rubber rooms are filled with teachers. None of these lawyers are interested in giving up quick cash for a long tough fight with no prospect of seeing settlement for years to come.
    Individual teachers who are savy about employmenet laws and willing to spend legal fees will be able to give DoE and UFT plenty of headaches, and have a fairly decent chance to force settlement. DoE never wants to go to trials for risky cases.

  17. I asked one of my TFA friends who works in a KIPP school in the Bronx and she texted me...." We have several black and latino teachers. In fact my Principal is black!" Poor thing she is going to sleep now...she has to wake up at 4 AM to travel to Utah with her students at KIPP..ten days camping out with her students! That's dedication.

  18. If minority teachers are only less than 20 percent of the total teaching force, while over 50 percent of teachers in the rubber rooms are minorities, something is terribly wrong unless DoE is able to prove that there pattern of inclination that one group is borned to be better teachers than other groups. If someone is able to establish this disparate pattern over a periold of several years, it will be a huge issue especially UFT is turning a blind eye to the situation.


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