One-third of all New York schools have no Latino or Black teachers, new report from Ed Trust–NY reveals

by | Oct 17, 2017 | Blog

More than 115,000 Latino and Black students – 10 percent – are enrolled in schools without a single same-race/ethnicity teacher

Passion. Resilience. Authority. Trust. 

These are some of the words educators of color use to describe the attributes they bring to the classroom — qualities that help them understand, relate to, and empathize with their students.

But New York’s educator workforce does not come close to representing the rich diversity of the state’s students, leaving many Latino and Black students without access to teachers or school leaders of the same race or ethnicity.

In See Our Truth, EdTrust–NY provides a first-ever detailed look at statewide data exploring what teacher and school leader diversity looks like in districts across New York. Through nearly 100 interviews and a series of focus groups, we have sought to learn from the experiences of and amplify the voices of students and educators of color.

Here is what the data show:

  • More than 115,000 Latino and Black students (10 percent) attend schools with no teachers of the same race/ethnicity and an additional 80,000 Latino and Black students (7 percent) attend schools with just one teacher of the same race/ethnicity.
  • Nearly half of all white students — 48 percent, or more than 560,000 white students — are enrolled in schools without a single Latino or Black teacher. Eighty-four percent of white students — more than 977,000 students — attend schools without a single Latino or Black principal or assistant principal.
  • Latino and Black students outside of the Big 5 school districts are nearly 13 times more likely than their Big 5 peers to have no exposure to a same-race/ethnicity teacher. As a result, nearly 98,000 Latino and Black students in district-run schools outside of the Big 5 attend school without a single same-race/ethnicity teacher, compared to less than 16,000 Latino and Black students in Big 5 school districts.
  • In school districts designated as low- or average-need, the average school employs fewer than two Latino and/or Black teachers.
  • Latino and Black educators are somewhat better represented in school leadership at the principal and assistant principal levels than in the classroom — but major gaps in the pipeline exist for Latino principals in New York City and for Latino and Black principals in the rest of the state.
  • Schools with a Latino or Black principal are more likely to have a greater share of Latino and Black teachers and to have higher enrollment of students of color and low-income students.

When we listen to students, teachers, school and district leaders — and the research — it is clear that in order to ensure all students receive the high-quality education they deserve — one that prepares them for success in college, careers, and beyond — New York State must do a better job improving equitable access to educators who are well-prepared, well-supported, and diverse.

There are immediate steps that state leaders can take to improve teacher and school leader diversity and strengthen public education in New York, including:

  • Strengthening the educator preparation pipeline for future teachers and school leaders of color
  • Improving recruitment and hiring at the school district level
  • Focusing greater attention on retention, support, and career advancement for educators of color

Read more about these recommendations in our full report. Explore the data at Join the conversation — or share your own experience — following #seeourtruth on Twitter.