May 2, 2022 - News

There are nearly 1,200 fewer Black teachers in Philly than 20 years ago

Illustration of a fist holding a pencil.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Philadelphia public and charter schools, as well as the district, employed nearly 1,200 fewer Black teachers combined last school year, compared to 20 years ago, according to a Research for Action report.

By the numbers: More than half of Pennsylvania's teachers of color are employed in Philadelphia County's district and charter schools, the education research organization reports.

  • The county's teachers comprise 10% of the state's teacher workforce.
  • Two-thirds of teachers in Philadelphia County schools are white, while Black and Hispanic students make up nearly three-quarters of the student population.

Zoom out: Nearly half of schools in the state and more than one-third of the school districts don't have any teachers of color.

  • Hispanic teachers are particularly underrepresented statewide. About 13% of Pennsylvania students are Hispanic, while only 1.1% of teachers are.

Between the lines: Research for Action cites a "leaky pipeline" that contributes to a lack of teacher diversity in Pennsylvania.

  • Lower rates of people of color graduating high school and participating in teacher preparation programs in college are compounded by schools' low hiring and retention rates for teachers of color, the report notes.

Of note: The state is aware of its diversity problem. It launched a pilot program, Aspiring to Educate, in 2019 to subsidize tuition at some area universities, including Temple University, the Community College of Philadelphia and Drexel University.


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