According to a recent Harvard Educational Review study, the shortage of black teachers in the United States isn’t just an issue of recruitment and retention but one of outright racial bias and discrimination.
The study looked at the hiring patterns of an unidentified public school district and found that, while both black and white teachers were equally qualified, white teachers were hired at a disproportionately higher rate. In 2012, black applicants made up 13 percent of applicants but were only hired at a rate of 6 percent, while white teachers were 70 percent of applicants but made up 77 percent of those hired.
“I think this is just another example of how ideas about race and racism, to be frank, are deeply embedded in the schools,” said study author and researcher Diana D’Amico, who is an assistant professor at George Mason University. “The other thing is, if there are these racial assumptions that inhibit the hiring of black individuals, I wonder how those same perceptions influence teachers once they’re already in the system.”
Beyond the racial bias of hiring, the study also found that black teachers were disproportionately more likely to be hired at schools where there was a black principal or at schools with more low-income and minority students.