This is an important issue because
Children do better in school when their instructor is the same race, studies say. Growing evidence indicates teacher diversity affects student achievement, said Thomas Dee, a public policy professor with the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. In a 2004 study, Dee found that white and black students in Tennessee schools did better on state tests when they had teachers of their own race. A similar 2002 study found that Hispanic students benefited from having Hispanic teachers.Loudoun's challenges in hiring minority employees, particularly administrators and teachers, are discussed by the Board every year around budget time. The discussion often centers around the same challenges that other districts face:
But school leaders say they are hamstrung by a national shortage of young black and Hispanic educators. The national demand for nonwhite educators has swelled as a growing body of evidence suggests broad teacher diversity helps student achievement, particularly among black youths. Black teachers, in particular, are increasingly difficult to come by, Mirra said. Nationally, fewer than 8 percent of teachers are black, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, down from decades pastOf the more than 3,100 Virginia college graduates who received a degree in education in 2008, fewer than 225 were black, according to the State Department of Education. "The reality is, the pool of black teachers is not that large, and we're in competition with every major city in the country," Monclova-Johnson said..As a School Board, we haven't done much about hiring practices in the past few years. It has not been our focus, though it was a focus from about 2006 to 2008. Other minority concerns have been a focus of this Board, but any action on minority recruiting and hiring has come from the administration and the Minority Student Achievement Advisory Council.
I know some minority applicants to LCPS who have not been hired. Were they the best qualified for the job? I don't know. I believe that a great teacher can educate and reach and inspire students of all stripes. I also believe that we need a diverse mix of teachers, so that every student can find the right teacher to inspire them.