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Thread: Study: Teachers Choose Schools According to Student Race

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    Study: Teachers Choose Schools According to Student Race

    A study forthcoming in the Journal of Labor Economics suggests that high-quality teachers tend to leave schools that experience inflows of black students. According to the study’s author, C. Kirabo Jackson (Cornell University), this is the first study to show that a school’s racial makeup may have a direct impact on the quality of its teachers.

    {snip}

    Dr. Jackson’s findings suggest that it’s not neighborhoods keeping high-quality teachers away; it’s the students—and it’s directly related to their race.

    “This is particularly sobering because it implies that, all else equal, black students will systematically receive lower quality instruction,” Jackson said. “This relationship may be a substantial contributor to the black-white achievement gap in American schools.”

    {snip}

    “This study implies teachers may prefer a student body that is more white and less black,” Jackson says.

    Black teachers were slightly more likely than white teachers to stay in the schools that experienced a black inflow, the study found. However, those black teachers who did leave black schools tended to be the highest qualified black teachers. So the decline in quality was somewhat more pronounced among black teachers than white teachers.

    Just what it is about black students that pushes high-quality teachers away is hard to pin down, Dr. Jackson says. It could be that teachers are reacting to notions about black students’ achievement or income levels.
    http://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives...ers_choose.php

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    I've seen some documentary movies about black-dominated schools. It was difficult enough to get them to stay put, let alone teach them the essentials. Some black students carried weapons, even guns, and did drugs. I'm not surprised teachers avoid them.

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    Why would anyone want to work in an environment where your efforts are not appreciated, you are hated and threatened, and the general atmosphere of low culture saps your will to live? Teachers appreciate students who are willing to learn.. it's what they live for if they are these types of dedicated professionals. The average IQ of blacks is very low, and when you have a whole culture made up of them, there's honestly no point to even trying to teach them anything. The few bright ones will lower their standards to fit in, and any oddball who actually likes school and tries to excel is ostracized.

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    Both White Teachers and Whites Students Shun Public Schools

    These 2 articles are a few years old, but I'm sure still relevant.

    White Teachers Fleeing Black Schools
    Monday, January 13, 2003 Posted: 1:31 PM EST (1831 GMT) AP

    DECATUR, Georgia (AP) -- Jason Johnston took a job at mostly black Midway Elementary School in hopes he could make a difference with the children who needed him most.

    But Johnston, one of only a handful of white teachers at the school, decided to leave after less than a year, disillusioned by pupils who struggled, parents who weren't involved and the constant pressure to meet state achievement standards.

    "It wasn't what I expected," explains Johnston, who now teaches high-performing fourth-graders at a wealthy, mostly white Atlanta school.

    "It's not because of race issues," he says. "It's about where you feel comfortable."

    Johnston is part of an exodus of white teachers from black schools that some see as a troubling symptom of the resegregation of the South.

    As decades-long court busing orders are loosened or lifted, the region's schools have become increasingly segregated. And a new study suggests that the trend is having a dramatic effect on where teachers choose to teach.

    Race Factor

    Three Georgia State University professors found that during the late '90s white elementary school teachers in Georgia were much more likely to quit at schools with higher proportions of black students.

    After the 1999-2000 school year, 31 percent of white teachers quit their jobs at schools where the student population was more than 70 percent black, and those who changed jobs went to schools
    that served lower proportions of black and poor pupils.

    "The race of the student body is the driving factor behind teacher turnover," the researchers wrote. Other studies have found white teacher flight increasing -- in California, New York, Texas and North Carolina -- but only the Georgia State study singled out how race factored into the phenomenon.

    Many Georgia teachers say they felt pressured to leave low-performing schools after the state passed an education reform law that tied teacher pay to test scores. Still, the study found that white teachers were leaving predominantly black schools even in the Atlanta city and suburban DeKalb County districts that were among the state's highest paying.

    "It's discouraging," says study co-author Ben Scafidi, an assistant professor of economics, public administration and urban studies. "And the most depressing part... is our evidence suggests that even large wage increases won't help."

    Elise Crisp teaches at DeKalb County's Avondale High School, where the student body is nearly 100 percent black. She has been there for six years and seen other white teachers leave for more affluent schools, with more white students. She says some are overwhelmed by the culture shock of an all-black school; others just want to work closer to home.

    "I just don't have those problems," said Crisp, who teaches English. "I really see no difference in what my job is, whether the students are black or white. They're children. It's my job to teach."

    Teacher Exodus

    But John Evans, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in DeKalb County, says no one should be surprised to see young white teachers leave for the suburbs after a year or two. Many teachers, especially young women, are scared of black neighborhoods and don't want to be there after dark, he says.

    Evans rejects the idea that black schools can't be successful without white teachers. If they don't want to be there, then let them go, he says.

    However, there simply aren't enough black teachers to go around. Only 20 percent of Georgia teachers are black, but black students make up 40 percent of the public school population.

    That means high teacher turnover at black schools, which hurts the quality of instruction, Scafidi says. Schools that have a lot of teaching positions to fill every year can't be as selective. They also wind up with more inexperienced teachers.

    During the late '90s, there was a rapid increase in elementary school construction in Georgia, and the state mandated smaller class sizes. This created more jobs and made it easier for all teachers, both black and white, to switch schools. But it still doesn't explain why black schools got hit the hardest by teachers turnover, Scafidi says.

    Mike Worthington, Avondale High's principal, says some of the blame rests on university education schools. Because they don't train teachers for a diverse classroom, some young white teachers are bewildered by black schools, he says.

    "They just don't know," says Worthington, who is white. "They perhaps don't understand their students, and the nuances and the style and the dress."

    But that's no excuse, says Mike Gluck, a white guidance counselor who has worked at Avondale for 22 years and has covered his office wall with photos of students, white and black.

    "I think it's a cop-out," Gluck says. "Whether they're white, black, rich or poor, they all have needs."

    **************************************** **************************************** *******

    Whites Shun Public Schools
    The Oakland Tribune
    August 27, 2002

    Census shows nearly 50% of Caucasians don’t use city education system

    By Jill Tucker and Alex Katz STAFF WRITERS

    Nearly half of all white students in Oakland have fled their local public school system.

    Same in San Francisco.

    In liberal Berkeley, nearly 40 percent of white families opt to pay for a private school rather than attend their free neighborhood public school.

    Across the Bay Area and the state, similar tales of so-called white flight in urban regions and struggling school districts were revealed for the first time, part of new Census 2000 figures released Monday.

    Prior years' census data regarding private school enrollment was not broken down by race.

    The new numbers show a two-tiered system, where white students opt out of public school -- especially in urban areas -- in far greater numbers than their black, Hispanic or Asian peers.

    Statewide, about 10 percent of all students attend private school.

    Overall, nearly 15 percent of whites do, compared to 10 percent of Asians, 8 percent of blacks and 5
    percent of Hispanics.

    But that gap widens dramatically in areas with high concentrations of minority and low-income students.

    In San Francisco, one of the most dramatic examples, 57 percent of white elementary and middle school students go to private school, compared to 9 percent of blacks.

    "Boy, those numbers do seem high,'' said Robert Fairlie, associate professor of economics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and nationally recognized researcher on the causes of white flight to private schools. "I'm really surprised.''

    While some researchers dispute the idea of white flight, Fairlie said the phenomenon is very real.

    The question is not if, but why.

    Parents and students of various races at the prestigious Head-Royce Academy in the Oakland hills said the choice to attend private school was an easy one, even if it is hard on their bank accounts.

    Parent Sharon Golden, who is white, said she sent her ninth grade daughter to Head-Royce this year instead of Oakland's Skyline High School in part to avoid the fights and other incidents on campus last year.

    "Maybe she could stay away from it, maybe she could skirt it, but what if she couldn't?'' Golden said. "Look at the kids who get caught in drive-by shootings, and they had nothing to do with it... We didn't want our daughter to be a social experiment.''

    She said the peace of mind is worth the $18,000 per year she will spend on the school. Parent Gachiru Devers said her daughter Wanjiru skipped Oakland Tech High School for Head-Royce this year because the private school is more challenging and has an orchestra where she can play viola.

    "I think a huge problem here is public schools are not preparing the kids to go to college,'' said Devers, who is from Kenya.

    Parents and students said the reasons for the high percentage of white students attending private school in Oakland come down to economics and exposure. White families tend to have more money and more exposure to educational opportunities, they said.

    Headmaster Paul Chapman said 40 percent of his school's students are "of color". The school's population comes from 60 zip codes in the East Bay, and Chapman said he didn't know how many are from Oakland.

    Still, freshman Wanjiru Devers and school co-president Danielle Barnes said they often find themselves the only black students in their classes.

    "It's really uncomfortable sometimes,'' Devers said.

    In history classes where students are studying slavery or similar issues, white students sometimes don't identify with what black students are feeling, Barnes and Devers said.

    "I notice more that I'm black when we talk about that,'' Devers said. "I think that's a big problem with private schools.

    But "I find the teachers in public school are a lot worse,'' she said.

    Also, "There is a tradition of education in the white community that is growing now in the black community,'' Barnes said. "As more black parents are getting the opportunity to be educated, they're sending their kids to private school.''

    Other parents said they were drawn to the small classes of the private school.

    Head-Royce's high school level classes have less than 20 students per teacher. In Oakland public schools, the number may be twice that.

    But Santa Cruz researcher Fairlie said the issue of white flight is bigger than safety and small classes.

    "It's very difficult to know what exactly is causing it,'' he said. "Something is going on.''

    Fairlie's research has centered around how much racism is contributing to white flight.

    "We tend to think racism has decreased over time,'' he said. "Maybe racism has declined in how we talk, but not in how we behave.''

    Fairlie said white families probably leave for a variety of reasons, including outright prejudice and a perception that racial composition and quality are related.

    State education officials and researchers, however, pointed a finger straight at school quality _ or in this case, lack thereof.

    "You can chalk it up to the fact that there aren't enough quality public schools in the city,'' said Lance Izumi, director of the education unit at the Pacific Research Institute, a San Francisco-based conservative think tank.

    Izumi said the new Census numbers will light a fire under the voucher movement.

    "You need to give African-Americans and Hispanics the same type of options that whites have,'' he added. "Parents want to make sure their kids come home in one piece.''

    State Secretary of Education Kerry Mazzoni, however, said it's true California schools were on the decline for decades.

    "Those families with the means to go to private schools probably felt that they couldn't wait around,'' she said. "They had seen the demise of the urban schools over a number of years and it was time to leave.''

    But the tide is turning, with better test scores across the board, she added.

    "We know that the public schools can attract and retain white students,'' she said.

    In Pleasanton, for example, only about 7 percent of white students attend private school.

    In Fremont, Newark and Union City, about 9 percent of white and Asian students reported going to private school, also below the statewide average. Nonetheless, the racial gap was still in play - with 4 percent of Hispanic students and 3 percent of black students in private school.

    Back in Oakland, school board member Gregory Hodge said parents must take a chance on their public schools.

    "As a public school parent, I think more people must stay, in order to create the political will to change public schools,'' he added.

    But even those who are staying in those public schools don't always want to be there. At Oakland's Fremont High School, some parents said white students go to private school because their parents are the ones who have money.

    "They have the money, I don't have the money,'' said grandmother Christine Hill. "I can't afford it. I'll tell you I don't have $15,000.''

    Still, "I like it here,'' said Sharon Hill, whose two children graduated from Fremont. "My girls got through it.''

    Oakland schools Superintendent Dennis Chaconas said he wants to reform the city's public education system in part to bring back students who chose private school.

    "I think when kids living in the city don't go to public school you lose the energy of the parents and the kids,'' Chaconas said.

    Since the census was taken and Chaconas was hired "there has been a major drive to improve the quality of schools and give parents a reason to attend the school system", the superintendent said, citing the city's new small schools and the reorganization of high schools.

    "It doesn't matter what race they are, we still want them in the Oakland public schools,'' said Chaconas, who attended Fremont High. "It is an issue any time parents who live in the community choose not to go to public schools.''

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