Black teachers say they face numerous challenges in public schools that cause many to leave the profession. Indeed, the teachers of color shortage “has as much or more to do with retention than recruitment,” according to a recent report from NEA Today.
Although recruitment efforts have improved over the past years, minority teachers often find themselves victim to the same policies that impact their students.
Travis Bristol, a Boston University assistant professor, shared his research on Boston’s Black educators during a panel discussion at the 2017 Education Writers Association National Seminar, NEA Today reported.
Donte Little was one of the former educators interviewed by Bristol. Little taught in Boston Public Schools and noticed that students were regularly treated like criminals. He left after an incident in which the principal “frisked” young students in a search for cellphones. “This isn’t a prison,” Little told Bristol.
If Little’s resignation is any indication, antiquated policies can create caustic environments for teachers of color. While studies show that students perform better when the teaching staff is as diverse as the student body, many of the schools that most need teachers of color are often low on resources.
Such a combination means that newly recruited teachers of color lose the optimism that attracted them to the profession. For this reason, educators are calling for more significant efforts to retain teachers of color.
Becky Pringle, vice president of the National Education Association (NEA), believes that teacher retention is central to achieving racial justice in education.
Pringle said that the retention rates of teachers of color was indicative of a larger problem: lack of leadership by teachers of color. Pringle says that the NEA is committed to training current and future teachers of color to lead in their schools so that they are empowered to change policies to improve their working environments and, ultimately, student outcomes.
SOURCE: NEA Today
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