Press Release

Shanker Institute Report Shows Sharp Decline in Number of Black Teachers in Some Cities

For Release: 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Kate Childs Graham
202/393-6354; cell 202/615-2424

WASHINGTON—Today, the Albert Shanker Institute released a major report on the state of teacher diversity. The report shows that, nationally, progress toward greater diversity is being made, but it is quite modest compared with the need for more minority teachers. In the nine cities studied—Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Cleveland, Los Angeles and San Francisco—the teacher-diversity picture is much bleaker, with only a few pockets of progress surrounded by serious setbacks.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who is the Shanker Institute’s board president, said, "Diversity is a key component to equality and opportunity. Where there's a diverse teaching workforce, all kids thrive. That’s why we note with alarm the sharp decline in the population of black teachers in our cities. As a first step to turning this around, we are calling for a national summit on teacher diversity in urban areas."

Here are some key findings from the report:

  • In all nine cities, the share of the workforce represented by black teachers declined—in many cases dramatically. The population of black teachers has fallen by even larger numbers.
  • Although Latinos’ share of the teacher workforce remained stable or grew slightly, the growth in Latino student population means very little progress has been made in closing the teacher-student representation gap.
  • The representation gap is more pronounced in charters than in district schools.
  • Nationally, the research shows the biggest obstacle to greater teacher diversity is teacher attrition: Minority teachers are leaving, the evidence tells us, because of a lack of collective voice in decisions in their schools and a lack of professional autonomy.
  • All students benefit from a diverse teaching force.

Click here to view the whole report.

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.