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Study Shows a Big Reason Why There Are Few Black Teachers in Public Schools

By: Krystle Crossman

In public schools the turnover rate for teachers has been growing steadily over the years. Some teachers leave because they cannot handle the pressure of teaching students every day. Some leave because they need to make more money. But the numbers that came from a study completed and published by University of Delaware Professor Henry May and University of Pennsylvania Professor Richard Ingersoll show a different reason that affects minority teachers most.

The professors found that the turnover rate for minority teachers in public school has increased to 17%, up from 12% between 1987 and 2013. The reason was not found to be money or stress. The professors found that many minority teachers were leaving because of the conditions that they were working in. More often than not, non-white teachers are in schools that are in low-income areas. These schools often have students that can be very difficult to work with. They have very few materials to work with. The classrooms are crowded and the conditions in the school can sometimes be dangerous. Many teachers cannot handle this no matter what race they are and end up moving on to a different school or different profession completely.

Another big reason that teachers are not staying is that they do not feel like they are being heard by their peers and superiors. They do not feel like they have a chance to make decisions that will change the schools for the better. When you are not heard at your job, especially when you have the chance to make a difference with kids, frustration can build quickly. People want to make sure that they are as involved as they can be with major decisions that are made at their place of employment so when they are not taken seriously they end up leaving for a place where they feel more respected.

Black teachers also leave when they feel that they are being watched all of the time. They want to be able to teach the way that they feel is best for their students. Many schools have become extremely strict when it comes to curriculum and the methods in which teachers are allowed to teach. These rules can becoming constricting and the students and teaches suffer immensely. The teachers will eventually leave for a school where they have more freedom.

The number of black teachers has increased steadily over the last few years but retention is the biggest problem. The researchers surmise that schools need to look at trends with the teachers that are leaving and see if there is anything that they can do to retain their employees.


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