The discouraging fact is that minority teachers are drastically underrepresented among LCPS faculty. The following numbers are accurate as of fall 2006:
|Black, not Hispanic||8.1%||3.8%|
Nonetheless, the news isn't all bad. Until 2004, the rate of minority licensed candidates hovered between 5% and 6%. In 2005, the number doubled to 11%. In 2006, the number jumped again to 16%. The LCPS goal for 2007 was to have the number increase to 21%. I am awaiting a response as to our success in meeting that goal.So while there is much room for improvement, there are also good strides toward improvement.
The following are the preliminary numbers for the new hires, released this week. A full and final report will be made in September.
African American - 6.6%
Asian - 3.5%
American Indian - .4%
Bi-Racial - .9%
Note that these numbers do not include teachers from the Visiting International Faculty program. When including those teachers (who live and work here for three years), the Hispanic number nearly doubles to 7.3%, the other numbers don't change significantly.
And my reaction to these numbers...
The proportion of African American teachers we hired this year is below the proportion of African American students in our classrooms. The share of new Latino and Asian teachers is far below the share of Latino and Asian students and actually fewer than our returning teachers. We need to do better. We're letting our community down.
We need more information before we come to conclusions though. These numbers, though they are the true benchmark, don't tell the whole story. Are we not targeting enough minority candidates? Are identified candidates more likely to teach somewhere else? Are minorities opting for a teaching profession in smaller numbers? Are the institutions graduating minority candidates not preparing them for the rigorous qualifications that we insist on? These are the questions I'll be asking.