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Most Pennsylvania Public Schools Have No Black Teachers

By Victor Trammell and Nomalanga Mhauli-Moses

Photo credits: Emma Lee/

In one of the most populous states in the northeastern region of the U.S, there are absolutely no black teachers in over 50 percent of the schools within every local public school district inside that state.

Statistical data taken during the 2016-17 academic year by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which was then utilized by the Research Action Foundation casts a dim light on education in the state along racial lines. The Research Action Foundation is a professional non-profit group that specializes in the intensive study of educational issues.

This organization created a data set after extracting information from the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s published reports on teacher demographics in each one of its local public school districts statewide. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, blacks make up 44 percent of the city’s population.

However, more than 55 percent of Pennsylvania’s public schools have an all-white teaching staff employed on the payroll. This definitely seems like a major disparity considering the fact that the top two cities in Pennsylvania population-wise have a sizable number of black residents overall.

Almost three-fourths of all Pennsylvania’s black teachers are concentrated in the city of Philadelphia and Allegheny County. Nonetheless, these black educators make up only 14 percent of the teaching population in these two municipalities where 40 percent of the student population is black.

Research Action’s organizational research has also proven that in the suburban cities outside Philadelphia, black students still make up a sizable percentage of the student population in these local school districts. Yet and still, the school districts of these suburban cities refuse to recruit more teachers of color.

Gentrification in states across America is forcing blacks into cities that have a lower cost of living, whereby concentrating them in poorer school districts that are inadequately funded by the state. This travesty often occurs in tandem with other systematic efforts, which lead to decreasing the diversity of teaching staffs.

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