Why black teachers quit
“In recent years, there’s been an increased push to get more teachers of color into the classroom, often highlighting large gaps between student and teacher demographics,” writes Matt Barnum on Chalkbeat. But retaining teachers of color also is a challenge.
A newly published paper explains why turnover is higher for black teachers in North Carolina. Basically, they’re more likely to teach in schools with “weaker principal leadership, less effective mentoring, and lower-quality professional development,” writes Min Sun, a University of Washington researcher. “Black teachers tended to work in hard- to-staff schools that serve a larger proportion of students of color or underperforming students, have poorer school supports, and are in lower [socioeconomic] communities.”
Quit rates are high for all teachers in these schools, notes Barnum.
Research has shown that salary increases and bonuses can boost retention, including in high-poverty schools. Mentoring programs and higher-quality principals have also been linked to lower turnover. Programs have also emerged to specifically support teachers of color, including initiatives for male teachers of color in New York City and Memphis.
Having at least one black teacher in third, fourth or fifth grade cut black boys’ dropout rates by 39 percent, a 2017 Johns Hopkins study found. It also raised college expectations for both boys and girls.
Black teachers “get” black students, writes Vivett Dukes, who didn’t have a black teacher till ninth grade.
At a nearly all-Latino school, a substitute is asked: Why do the white teachers always quit?“