The New York State Education Department this week released a draft report stating that 200 school districts across the state do not employ a single teacher of color.
The draft, which was presented during a Board of Regents meeting earlier this week, says that there has been an increase in teacher diversity between 2011 and 2017, with the number of teachers of color in the state having increased by 1,400. But during that same time frame, the number of teachers of color have declined in several parts of the state — including in Manhattan and Brooklyn. In the city’s other three boroughs numbers are up, the report reveals.
“This crucial information about teacher diversity is a wake-up siren for leaders in Albany and City Hall,” said Paula White, executive director of Educators for Excellence New York.
In most regions of the state, people of color only made up 5 percent of teachers, despite young people of color increasingly becoming the majority in classrooms, the report says.
“Our schools, including our teachers, should reflect the diversity of the city, and we are proud to be leading the state in teacher diversity,” said a DOE spokesperson in response to the report. New York City has the highest number of teachers of color in the state at 42 percent.
“We’ve invested in NYC Men Teach and our teacher pathway programs for paraprofessionals, and we’ll continue to focus on increasing the diversity of our teachers,” they said.
The turnover rate for teachers of color is also higher than that of their white counterparts — the draft report reveals that 22 percent of black teachers, 19 percent of Latino teachers, 18 percent of Asian teachers and 17 percent of Native American teachers in the 2017-2018 school year did not return to the classroom the next year, while only 13 percent of white teachers did not return to the classroom during that same time frame. In order to gather those percentages, the NYSED only used data from about 50 percent of districts.
Despite those numbers, the draft shows that there is an uptick in people of color entering educator preparation programs. Although most students are still mostly white, the number of students of color has increased from 25 percent in the 2010-11 school year to 39 percent in 2016-17 school year.
According to NYSED, the Educator Diversity report will be finalized soon.