Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Ed Deform Racist Policies Attack Black Teachers - a Civil Rights Issue for Our Times

In Philadelphia, the number of black teachers fell 18.5 percent between 2001 and 2012. In Chicago, it dropped 40 percent... 26,000 African American teachers have disappeared from the nation's public schools—even as the overall teaching workforce has increased by 134,000. .... Mother Jones

At the very same time as Joel Klein branded his "reform" of the NYC school system a response to the civil rights issue of our time, as did many ed deformers at the time, he was also instrumental in forging policies that led to a reduction in the number of black teachers being hired in the NYC schools -- a policy based on bringing in mostly white Teach for America and Teaching Fellows instead of the teaching programs coming out of CUNY and the career ladder that allowed paras to become teachers.

When I retired in 2002 and turned Ed Notes into a city-wide newspaper Sean Ahern, a high school cooking teacher, saw a copy in his school mailbox and sent me a snail mail letter and after that we began hanging out -- our meeting was one of the sparks of that led to the founding of ICE. Since that time Sean has often focused on the disappearing black educator issue - even being instrumental in getting the UFT DA to pass a reso on the issue, though nothing very much has been done about it.

Initially we thought this might just be a NYC phenomenon but as ed deform went from city to city ---- a clear pattern emerged as evidenced by the chart above. What can one say other than the outcomes of ed deform has been a form of out and out racism.

Just look at some collocations of charters and public schools in some areas where there have historically been a lot of black teachers. Young white, temp teachers in the charters and often older black teachers in the public schools.

Basic ed deform of closing schools and replacing them with charters has been instrumental. The Mother Jones piece delves into this point:
In Philadelphia and across the country, scores of schools have been closed, radically restructured, or replaced by charter schools. And in the process, the face of the teaching workforce has changed. In one of the most far-reaching consequences of the past decade's wave of education reform, the nation has lost tens of thousands of experienced black teachers and principals.

According to the Albert Shanker Institute, which is funded in part by the American Federation of Teachers, the number of black educators has declined sharply in some of the largest urban school districts in the nation. In Philadelphia, the number of black teachers declined by 18.5 percent between 2001 and 2012. In Chicago, the black teacher population dropped by nearly 40 percent. And in New Orleans, there was a 62 percent drop in the number of black teachers.

The article argues that education can improve for black kids if they have a lot of black teachers. I agree that it makes a difference for kids to have at least a batch of teachers with their backgrounds -- I remember my parents being very conscious of which of my teachers were Jewish so I don't limit this to one ethnic group -- but when it comes to color that is an important issue.

On the other hand, in cities that had large numbers of black teachers before ed deform -- Washington, a large number in Chicago, New Orleans and area of NYC like Brooklyn's Dist 16, 17, 13, 23 (Bed-Stuy, Ocean-Hill Brownsville, Crown Heights) and Harlem (Dist 3, 5) the outcomes were not very good - so if you loaded up a school that is not run very well or autocratically, with black teachers, don't expect miracles. 
..though 16 percent of America's students are black, only 7 percent of teachers are. And even at the schools where black and Latino students are concentrated—71 percent of these students attend high-poverty, mostly urban schools—only 15 percent of teachers are black and 16 percent are Latino.
Now people to bring up Asian and other ethnic groups and the % of teachers they have. But there is a very different history between people descended from American slavery who have continued to be discriminated against 150 years after slavery ended and other ethnic groups.

The race issue is complex and also polarizing -- witness Colin Kaepernik  --  and this interesting tidbit: Fans buying Colin Kaepernick jerseys in big numbers.


Anonymous said...

Look at the demographics of the ATR pool. It's got to be 70% Black and Hispanic.

ed notes online said...

Really? Based on what? I do believe it was a higher per centage than white teachers because more black teachers teach in areas with schools more likely to have been closed. Then there is good old racism. Then there were the higher salaries of older black teachers. I think there were stories that the old rubber rooms had a higher percentage than expected.

Anonymous said...

Based on the observable experience of the ATRs I know, see on rotation, at the annual UFT meeting, and the fact that no one from the DOE/UFT is releasing the demographics- as well as the higher percentage of veteran Black and Hispanic teachers and the higher percentage of us working in poor areas that were targeted by Bloomberg. Numerous FOIL requests have been ignored by the DOE and it is information the UFT could compile on its own, but hasn't.

Anonymous said...

While there are definitely older (above 40 years of age ) white teachers in the ATR pool, the majority of ATR teachers, at least in the Bronx, are at least 80% black and/or Hispanic with the majority of this group being over the age of 40. How do I know?? I have been all over the Bronx as an ATR for the past 3 years. Moreover, I am African-American and am 45years old.