Is School District Making Progress with More Diverse Hiring of Teachers?

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diversityDJUSD Believes It has Made Slight Progress on Hiring Teachers of Color, Incorporating Values of Diversity into District Hiring Process

Data recently obtained by the Vanguard from the Davis Joint Unified School District shows that, despite some effort to recruit a more diverse teaching staff, the district has only made small progress over the last few years.

The data compiled through a records request shows that certificated employees, which includes teachers at all levels, are still 76.7 percent white, down slightly from the 81 percent level. This compares with a 56 percent white student population. The certificated staff is also the least ethnically diverse of the employee groups, trailing both the administration and classified staff.

“The information suggests that we have our work cut out for us in order to achieve diversity among our teachers, administrators, and school employees that is more reflective of our community,” Board President Alan Fernandes told the Vanguard in a statement Tuesday night. “I believe the Board is committed to this effort along with continuing to attract and retain the best and brightest individuals for all district positions.”

Board Vice President Madhavi Sunder was more pointed, stating, “The numbers are striking. People of all racial backgrounds should feel that there is opportunity to teach and work in Davis Schools, and to rise in administrative ranks here.”

The student data is from 2013-14, the most recently available year. It is included for illustrative purposes. The district personnel is compiled from DTA membership lists for the 2014-15 year.

Racial-Breadkdown-DJUSD

The teaching category extends beyond just teachers, including all certificated staff that serves the students. The racial categories are collapsed from a much broader range of categories for illustrative purposes. District staff was provided a version of this chart prior to publication.

The figures as compiled show that white teachers are vastly overrepresented at 76.7 percent compared to 56 percent of the students being white. Among the major racial categories, Asians are vastly underrepresented, with less than six percent of the teachers compared to 17 percent of the students. Blacks are underrepresented as well – although their numbers are small both in teacher and student populations.

The Hispanic category is interesting. On the surface, the 13 percent of the teaching population represents significant progress, even as it still lags the large and growing 18.5 percent Hispanic student population.

However, some disagree that this is a true measure of progress.

Rick Gonzales, the President of the Yolo County Mexican-American Concilio, has been a longtime critic of the district’s hiring practice. He believes that, while there has been some shift in the percentage of Hispanic teachers, most of that is structural.

He told the Vanguard on Monday, “I believe there is very little movement, hence, the low numbers of teachers of color, except in the Spanish Immersion and Dual Immersion programs where knowing Spanish is a requirement. The start of the Dual Immersion Program is probably the reason that Latino teachers were hired.”

However, the district believes it is making slow progress in this area, both in terms of higher diversity, and also in terms of holding diversity and the teaching of diversity as critical district values.

“We hold diversity as a value,” Matt Best, the District’s Associate Superintendent of Administrative Services, told the Vanguard Tuesday in a phone interview.

He said the district is striving to have a diverse staff in terms of their ethnicity and culture. He added that the second part of that is that they want to have a staff that is able to teach students about diversity.

“A diverse and inclusive culture” is essential part of the mission statement of DJUSD set forth in the DJUSD Strategic Plan.

“Since my time here, I’ve really been working to track ethnic data,” Mr. Best said. He noted that, when Tim Taylor was on the board, he wanted to know their ethnicity and their training that they had to teach diversity in our classrooms. He said, we are “really focusing on who are we hiring and how are we going to support this idea of diversity.”

Matt Best noted that they have diversity curriculum at both the elementary and secondary levels, which is embedded into the social studies curriculum. There is also a social justice course at Korematsu.

He stated, “We expect that teachers and staff can teach the value of cultural diversity to students regardless of their own background and culture.”

Mr. Best stressed that the district is showing progress toward being more diverse. He noted that, in 2011-12, the district was about 81 percent white. That compared to about 72 percent countywide. “Over the last several years, we’ve been working hard to make sure we hire not only diverse staff, but staff that are able to teach the value of diversity.”

Most of the progress has been in the Hispanic category, he acknowledged.

He stressed, “We always look for the best candidates for our positions, but continually look for more ways to expand our recruiting efforts to recruit a more diverse staff.”

Matt Best also told the Vanguard that the district has altered their hiring practices over the last few years. The district used to have a very decentralized process where the principals would have a hiring process that would take place at their site and independent of the district. “As a result I think we hired people that were all like the person that was already at the site which was mostly white with those same skills and values.”

When Mr. Best was placed in charge of HR, he changed the practices. “We developed a standardized screening interview.” Part of that assesses the teaching candidate’s “core values.” Included are questions about diversity and ethnicity.

They have a trained group of interviewers on a panel including administrators who do a short screening interview which gets at core values, including cultural diversity and sensitivity.

Matt Best said that HR staff and principals also attend recruitment events almost anywhere within 100 miles of Davis, to meet and shake hands with a diverse candidate pool and to strongly encourage them to apply. “Those things are what you have to do to shift that culture,” he said.

However, Rick Gonzales disagrees that things are changing.

“There has never been a priority to hire teachers of color,” he said. “If 42 percent of the student population is students of color, then it only seems fair that 42 percent of the teachers should be teachers of color.”

Mr. Gonzales said he has spent the last thirty years serving on committees at DJUSD that address these issues, and he has always made the issue of minority hiring a critical point.

However, he said, in the end it “falls on deaf ears and little, if anything, changes. This topic becomes even more important in the future, because many teachers are retiring and need to be replaced.” He added, “The schools are now receiving more student funding than before, so they can’t counter with not enough funding to hire minority teachers.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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147 thoughts on “Is School District Making Progress with More Diverse Hiring of Teachers?”

  1. Barack Palin

    “We expect that teachers and staff can teach the value of cultural diversity to students regardless of their own background and culture.”

    Exactly.  I have a novel idea, why don’t we just hire the most qualified applicants regardless of race.

    1. Davis Progressive

      that’s what they did for decades.  the problem is that you have a huge achievement gap and the lack of minority hires is a frequently cited source of complaint from those of us who believe that the lack of positive role models for minorities is problematic.  moreover as the district indicated its not that they aren’t going to hire the most qualified applicants regardless of race, they want to have a more diverse applicant pool which would allow for such a hire to be more likely to have greater diversity.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Why don’t we start with the number one role models, parents (i.e., fathers)?

        They state that they will hire the most qualified, but we know that’s often not the case. Like civil service / police / fire jobs where they enact “banding” of applicants test scores to say that anyone who scores between 80 and 100 on the test is the same (hence, banded together), when we know that someone who scores a 99 is better qualified than someone who scored an 81.

    2. South of Davis

      BP wrote:

      > I have a novel idea, why don’t we just hire the most qualified

      > applicants regardless of race.

      They could always just lower the standards until the district gets the racial mix they want (like most colleges)…

      Another option would be to fire a white teacher every time they get a resume from a teacher of color…

      Like BP I don’t understand why we don’t just do the best we can getting the most qualified people who apply to do their best educating ALL the kids (regardless of race).

      “I have a dream” that some day the school will stop asking (or more people will join the ~5 teachers that did not report their race) and we can move ahead not tracking everything by race…

  2. Barack Palin

    The admin staff with 11.6% blacks is way over represented with only having 2.8% black students.  Since that wasn’t brought up in the article is that something that’s also going to be looked into?

    1. Davis Progressive

      you’re comparing a sample of 570 (teachers) to 43 (administrators), that means that it’s probably 4 0r 5 people.  i can name three just off the top of my head: roberson, will brown (dhs principal) and mel lewis (climate).

      1. Barack Palin

        No, I don’t think it’s that.  I think the ones that want racial uniformity are willing to look the other way when blacks or Latinos are over represented.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          We live in a free society. Maybe educated African Americans prefer to be lawyers or federal workers.

          Pro hockey is 95% white and pro basketball is 70% African American, both vastly non-uniform, and I don’t see any gnashing of teeth.

          There are many factors at play. Free choice, culture, geography, weather, history, …

  3. Tia Will

    “If 42% of the student population is students of color, then it only seems fair that 42% of the teachers should be teachers of color.”

    This is an issue over which I have very mixed feelings.

    1. I object to the very over used word “fair” in this context. “Fair” to whom ? Fair to the applicant who may have been over looked in the old decentralized scheme because he or she did not closely enough resemble the person making the selection ? Fair to the students in terms of getting the best possible education in an atmosphere that is respectful of all groups ? How do we believe that “fairness” fits into this hiring decision ?

    2. Is shooting for an exact percentage match really a major priority ? Should this ever be prioritized over hiring the best teachers that we possibly can ? Or does choosing by race skew the children’s perception of merit and lead them to be even more cognizant of the power of race in our society ?

    I have no answers and am only posing questions since I come from a very different background and have seen discrimination based on gender switch over the course of my career from the assumption that women could not be successful in a surgical subspecialty and therefore should never be hired, to my current fight to ensure that men are not excluded from gynecologic positions because “women prefer to see other women”.  In my field, I firmly believe that the job should go to the most qualified applicant regardless of race, gender, religion….

    I think that what needs to be addressed here first is the question of priorities. While I firmly believe in the value of diversity, I question whether this should ever be prioritized over hiring the very best candidate possible for the specific teaching position available. What I would recommend is a blinded hiring policy with the individual’s making the final decision not having access to the gender, religion, or ethnicity of the applicant. It has worked in orchestral hiring to obtain both more skilled musicians and greater racial and gender diversity. It should be considered here as well despite the obvious logistical difficulties. We are a very bright, very innovative community. I am sure that we could find a way if we put our minds to it.

    1. Barack Palin

       In my field, I firmly believe that the job should go to the most qualified applicant regardless of race, gender, religion….

      My son is an OB/GYN.  When he was applying for jobs I can’t tell you how many times he’s felt that he was skipped over for an opening because they were looking for a female.

      What I would recommend is a blinded hiring policy with the individual’s making the final decision not having access to the gender, religion, or ethnicity of the applicant.

      I totally agree.  If there was a way this could be done then they should look into it.

      I always hear how great our local schools are, why are we now going to change things?  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

        1. Tia Will

          Sexism isn’t relevant when it’s a man”

          Well then, I guess that I have been wasting my time for the last 7 years fighting to hire the most qualified applicant regardless of gender.

           

    2. Davis Progressive

      ” Is shooting for an exact percentage match really a major priority ?”

      probably not.  but 76 to 56 (and growing) is a big discrepancy.  also remember the trend, twenty years ago, 75% of students were white, now it’s just 56%, that’s a big change.

    3. Sam

      The statement of 42% students should equal 42% teachers is absurd. Of the people living in Davis, or the surrounding areas, what percentage of people that have a teaching credential are also of color? You can compare that to the percentage hired by DJUSD. You can’t just use students. What if all the “students of color” parents have PHDs and are UCD professors? Is the school district supposed to somehow force them to teach K-12?

      Way to compare two unrelated items to try and prove your point.

       

  4. TrueBlueDevil

    This “diversity” article cherry picks what is being scrutinized.

    1. What is the gender makeup of the teachers? My guess is that male teachers are under-represented.

    2. What is the political makeup of the teachers? My guess is that GOP, Independent, and Tea Party members are under-represented.

    3. What percentage of teachers have a background in the business world, which would give them a more diverse and varied background than career teachers?

    4. Are socialists over-represented and capitalists under-represented? This would be good to know in preparing citizens for our capitalist system.

    We may have to wait for African American administrators and female teachers to move on or retire, before we can make progress towards a truly uniform employee base.

    I look forward to the follow up article.

    P.S. A statistical gap isn’t surprising when we’ve recently had a massive influx of legal and illegal immigrants into our state from south of the border, and there will logically be a time lag while new ethnic groups assimilate, gain an education, and move up the American ladder. In addition we still have the “achievement gap” which also impacts the numbers of college graduates who would have the proper qualifications needed to assume such positions. Common sense.

    1. Tia Will

      TBD

      What percentage of teachers have a background in the business world, which would give them a more diverse and varied background than career teachers?”

      I was with you until this point . What makes you think that having a background in the business world would provided a more diverse and varied background than say having teachers who had a background in the military, or a religious service background, or backgrounds from various different disciplines in academia or public service. I think that you are making an unwarranted assumption here.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        The larger point is that the Left has redefined what “diversity” means, it’s about race, and it’s usually about needing x% of black people. There is a lot of groupthink with teachers, which does no one any good.

  5. sisterhood

    LGBT approx. 15 – 20%. Is this represented in parity?

    Are LGBT teachers scrutinized more severely?

    Are teachers who have overcome their own learning disability fairly represented? Which teaching style is represented the most frequently? I can venture a guess, because teachers usually teach their own learning style. That’s not a bad thing if it’s one of many styles represented.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      sisterhood wrote: “LGBT approx. 15 – 20%.”

      What does this mean, this is an incomplete sentence. Are you saying the current teachers are 15-20% LGBT, or that they should be 15-20% LGBT for some reason? Any sources? Thank you.

    2. Barack Palin

      LGBT approx. 15 – 20%. Is this represented in parity?

      Ah yes, let’s not forget the LGBT community.  All teachers should also be screened on who they sleep with.  Let’s not forget the cross dresser community either, they deserve representation too.  Then we might want to also consider the religious makeup of our community and hire accordingly.

      1. South of Davis

        BP wrote:

        > Then we might want to also consider the religious makeup of our community and hire accordingly.

        I wonder if the school district is trying to have “religious diversity”

        Like with race I would hope the district would just hire the BEST teachers and not even ask what their race OR religion is…

        Below are the California “religious diversity” numbers from Wikipedia:

        Protestant – 35%

        Roman Catholic – 31%

        Jewish – 2%

        LDS – 2%

        Buddhist – 2%

        Hindu – <1%

        Muslim – <0.5%

        Other Religions – 3%

        Non-Religious/ Atheist/ Agnostic – 22%

        1. Davis Progressive

          i have to tell you when i read posts like this and some of the ones from bp, tbd, and frankly, i realize something – right wingers have no clue why diversity is important or what diversity is important.  none.  it’s a concept they do not understand and cannot comprehend.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          And progressives are close minded and have problems with facts and analysis. They prefer to deal in the realm of emotions.

          Many of the civil rights leaders were educated in all black schools, while others were educated in all white schools by all white teachers. Many studied Latin, Greek, and the classics, and they were pillars. They didn’t seem to need “diversity” to shine.

        3. Barack Palin

          No, I would say that people like I, tbd and Frankly look past race and want people to be judged and hired on their merit.  Unfortunately, when I read posts like the ones from you and other liberals all I see is once again everything is all consumed and about race.

           

        4. South of Davis

          BP wrote:

          >  right wingers have no clue why diversity is

          > important or what diversity is important. 

          It would make things easier if the people on the left that keep pushing to increase “diversity”  (I have never heard of anyone on the right pushing for more “diversity”) would stop lying and telling us they want “diversity” when they really want more women, people of color, LBGT, non religious people and people with disabilities (I have never head of a “diversity” program that is looking for more male, white, straight, Mormon, athletic guys).

          P.S. I wonder if the Davis school district even has a single straight, white, church going Republican?

        5. Davis Progressive

          “Many of the civil rights leaders were educated in all black schools, while others were educated in all white schools by all white teachers. Many studied Latin, Greek, and the classics, and they were pillars. They didn’t seem to need “diversity” to shine.”

          which is an interesting point.  the problem of course was that the civil right leaders studying at all black schools and succeeding were probably in the top one tenth of a one percent of their peers.  the argument under brown v. board was separate was inherently unequal and all empirical data (i find tbd’s comment data highly ironic) bears that out.

          so why do we need a diverse teaching force?  mainly because we don’t have segregated schools anymore.  see the research i posted below).

        6. wdf1

          SoD:  I wonder if the Davis school district even has a single straight, white, church going Republican?

          I know of a married, white, church going Republican who works for the district.  I don’t know of anyone who is single who fits the rest of your description.

  6. Frankly

    In the the latest Pisa study by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the US ranks 14th out of 34 countries in reading, math and science.  South Korea is 1st.

    I don’t have time right now, but I think it would be useful to map this list with the ethic makeup of the population, and correlate it with the education outcomes of the source country of the dominant ethnic groups.

    South Korean is one of the most culturally and ethnically homogenous countries on the list.   So is Finland, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, Iceland, Poland, New Zealand and Belgium.  Canada and Australia stand out as being high on the list of cultural and ethnic diversity… in fact, Canada is one of the most diverse of industrialized countries.

    Homogeneity contributes to greater education outcomes except for a few exceptions.

    Looking at the US, the bulk of the non-European ethnic makeup of the population is of Mexican and Spanish-speaking origins.  Not only that, but the US has received an extra large influx of poor and uneducated Spanish-speaking people from south of the border.  Add those two things together, and it makes sense that the US average education outcomes are lower.

    Canada has a much higher percentage of recent Asian immigrants from countries that already score high on education outcomes… so it makes sense that Canada’s education outcome scores are higher.

    But getting back to the topic of the article… we need to dig much deeper than just counting the race of teachers.   Diversity is important but superficial assessments are stupid.   The most important consideration is simply capability.  We need the most capable teachers.  And with respect to the racial diversity of teachers I am betting that certain racial groups are underrepresented in the number of capable teachers.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “Homogeneity contributes to greater education outcomes except for a few exceptions.”

      the problem is – you’re not a researcher, not a social scientist, and not a methodologist.  part of the problem is that you’re boiling complexes matters into an analysis that only looks at two factors.  and you’re presupposing one of the factors without even using any kind of statistical analysis.

      so in this case, you look at homogeneity as an explanatory variable without exploring whether homogeneity is the causal factor or a composite of a number of different factors.  put simply: is homogeneity the causal factor or is it inequality.  your analysis can’t answer that question.

      for example, the us.  a big source of inequality in the us was racial policies in the us with regards to blacks, then other recent immigrant groups.  while most immigrant groups have eventually been assimilated into the larger population, laws and post-law practices prevented blacks from doing so.  you focus on the hispanic population forgetting that they are just the most recent and most currently abundant immigrant group, but what you could write about the hispanics today, you could have written about the irish, jews, italians, chinese, japanese in other time periods.

      “we need to dig much deeper than just counting the race of teachers.  ”

      but diversity is an important measure and has been a consistent flashpoint in trying to understand why davis of all places has a larger achievement gap than other communities.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Good points. But actually, the recent immigrants from Central and South America may be very different. Large numbers of those from Mexico not only don’t speak English, they have never learned their native tongue, and educational double whammy that impedes success. The Irish, Italians, Jews and Japanese knew their native tongues.

        Maybe we should also look at the political orientation and parenting style of parents.

        The Shaker Heights educational situation may be most illustrative, a study which analyzed why middle class back students under performed compared to their middle class white counterparts. The academic analysis was done by Dr. Ogbu of Berkeley, an anthropologist who looked at it like a true researcher, everything was on the table, and his conclusions eventually drew a lot of fire and uncomfortable conclusions.

        I would think that opportunity and meritocracy are important, not fake diversity. Japanese Americans continue to excel, as do many other ethnic groups, so I think studying their success would bear more fruit. Maybe we can learn something from Tiger Moms.

      2. hpierce

        “the problem is – you’re not a researcher, not a social scientist, and not a methodologist.’  Look in the mirror lately?  Your credentials for “dismissing” Frankly’s opinion?

      3. South of Davis

        DP wrote:

        > diversity is an important measure and has been a consistent flashpoint

        > in trying to understand why davis of all places has a larger achievement

        > gap than other communities.

        There is nothing wrong with an “achievement gap”.  Every family has an “achievement gap” where kids who have the same parents and the same teachers get different grades and test scores, and any time you have a town with a lot of super smart parents you are going to have a town with a lot of super smart kids making the “Gap” between the smart kids and dumb kids bigger (In 2006, Davis had the second highest percentage of residents with graduate degrees in the entire country).  Most cities with all Title 1 schools have less of an “achievement gap” than we have here in Davis.

        1. Davis Progressive

          “There is nothing wrong with an “achievement gap”.”

          wow!  there’s nothing wrong with having one class of people defined along racial boundaries consistency scoring several standard deviations lower than other groups.  that’s just the normal order of things, right?  some races are just smarter than others, that’s what you’re saying, correct?

        2. hpierce

          Wow!  DP… you must be REAL smart!  The “achievement gap” is OBVIOUSLY due to racist, class-ist problems in our wicked society!  There CAN BE NO OTHER EXPLANATION!

          If I “put words into your mouth”, it only because I perceive that you just did that to another.

          Have a good day.

        3. Davis Progressive

          “The “achievement gap” is OBVIOUSLY due to racist, class-ist problems in our wicked society!  There CAN BE NO OTHER EXPLANATION!”

          can you show me where anyone said any of this?

        4. South of Davis

          DP wrote:

          > some races are just smarter than others, that’s what you’re saying, correct?

          No I’m saying that some “people” are smarter than others and the job of parents and teachers is to do the best you can with each child knowing that in each family some kids are going to have higher test scores just like some kids are going to be faster swimmers.

          My best friend is the same “race” as his younger sister and we all went to the same public schools with pretty much the same teachers.  My best friend’s sister got all As in every class and got over 1500 on the SAT (she went to Stanford Med School and is now a Surgeon).

          My point is that if some of the best public schools in the country can’t do anything about big “achievement gaps” between kids of the same race who grow up in the same home with the same parents how can we ever expect their NOT to be a gap between the kids (of all races) that grow up in homes with super smart parents who value education and those kids (of all races) who grow up in homes where not very smart parents don’t value education at all?

        5. Davis Progressive

          your defense is undermined by several factors.  first, if it were merely a matter of some people being smarter than others, we would expect a wide degree of variability over time in the achievement gap – we do not.  it is consistent and very consistent by race.  and it is highly statistically significant. so we have a consistent relationship between race and scores, a consistent gap, and one that has prevailed over time. this is not just a matter of some people being smarter than others –  so try again.

        6. hpierce

          DP, your 11:02 post:  I wrote ” If I “put words into your mouth”, it only because I perceive that you just did that to another.”  Your post responding to Frankly was “wow!  there’s nothing wrong with having one class of people defined along racial boundaries consistency scoring several standard deviations lower than other groups.  that’s just the normal order of things, right?  some races are just smarter than others, that’s what you’re saying, correct?”  By the metric you used to dismiss my comment, “can you show me where anyone said any of this?”, I reflect back… did Frankly say what you implied/impugned him of saying?  Either we are BOTH justified in our responses to one another, or neither of us are.

      4. Frankly

        you focus on the hispanic population forgetting that they are just the most recent and most currently abundant immigrant group, but what you could write about the hispanics today, you could have written about the irish, jews, italians, chinese, japanese in other time periods.

        First, we need to keep the debate focused on at least the last 60 years…. post WWII.   Because nothing about education outcomes will correlate very well before that period.

        And the number of poor and uneducated Hispanic immigrants coming to this country during that last 60 years overwhelms any other immigrant group.   It is a very significant demographic that explains a whole lot of problems in the country.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Good point. And during this time period many African Americans also moved away from the economically deprived South, so there will be a transition period.

          Frankly, how much of that explains our state going from number 1 in education to number 48? And how much is Progressives mismanagement?

        2. Frankly

          Yes, that is a point that we don’t read enough in the main media… the fact that the large inflow of uneducated immigrants came at the same time globalism depleted manufacturing jobs… this has hit all low-income people hard.

    2. wdf1

      Frankly:  I don’t have time right now, but I think it would be useful to map this list with the ethic makeup of the population, and correlate it with the education outcomes of the source country of the dominant ethnic groups.

      I would be more interested in the percentage of lower income children and the educational level of the parents.  When broken down by income level, U.S. students perform very well on those kinds of standardized tests.  If you aggregate all the test scores, well, the U.S. doesn’t score as well because we have a higher percentage of lower income children than most other countries.

    3. wdf1

      Frankly:  Looking at the US, the bulk of the non-European ethnic makeup of the population is of Mexican and Spanish-speaking origins.  Not only that, but the US has received an extra large influx of poor and uneducated Spanish-speaking people from south of the border.  Add those two things together, and it makes sense that the US average education outcomes are lower.

      I realize that this blog post is old by this point, but I have to call you out on this.  Your first sentence is profoundly patronizing and ignorant.  It is not Mexican and Spanish-speaking students per se that bring about lower educational outcomes.  It is that most of the immigrants who come to the US from Latin America are poorer and have less education.  There are highly educated Mexican and Spanish-speaking families whose kids perform very well in the Davis schools — I know several of them.  If they were your kids, you would probably be proud of them.  They would be insulted if they read your first sentence.

      In particular when a family has a high educational background, then there is a lot of social and intellectual capital that is handed down to the kids from the parents.  That tends to translate to higher educational performance.  When a family lacks that educational background, then those kids lack the “head start” that the other families have, and not even teachers can reliably make up for that deficit.

      In the past you have said that higher performance among Davis students has to do with better genes. I think genetics is over-rated as being a key determining factor in one’s performance in educational outcomes.

    1. Davis Progressive

      it appears both: “Matt Best said that HR staff and principals also attend recruitment events almost anywhere within 100 miles of Davis, to meet and shake hands with a diverse candidate pool and to strongly encourage them to apply. “Those things are what you have to do to shift that culture,” he said.”

  7. DanH

    The cookie cutter women in the “diversity” graphic accompanying this article have hearts, while the men are heartless. Perhaps the men should bear little black pistol badges. Sorry, just a morning giggle on my part.

    1. hpierce

      Don’t you understand?  Only women can be empathetic, wise, nurturing (yeah, cheek is almost bursting on that one).  The article doesn’t look at gender, only self-reported race.  How does Teaching, Admin, Classified employment conform to ‘diversity’ using the gender metric, David?

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        Funny I was trying to find a relatively innocuous graphic to run with the story. Didn’t notice the “hearts” until Dan pointed it out, not sure what the intent was.

        Didn’t ask about gender, not really that interested in gender. You’re welcome to do a story on it, and I’ll be glad to publish it. As Rick Gonzales noted, the racial breakdown has been an issue for 30 years – probably more.

  8. MrsW

    …the district is striving to have a diverse staff in terms of their ethnicity and culture. He added that the second part of that is that they want to have a staff that is able to teach students about diversity.

    This article is the first time I have ever heard/seen these words coming out of anything DJUSD ever. Hurrray!
    Thank you Rick Gonzales for your persistence and 30 year commitment to try and help DJUSD become a better organization.

    Thank you Matt Best for picking up the Human Resources ball for an organization whose effectiveness is 100% dependent upon its human resources.  It’s great to read the DJUSD is expanding its outreach and recruitment techniques to reach a more diverse candidate pool, as well as steering the DJUSD professional climate towards inclusiveness.

    Thank you to David Hafter and the Vanguard bloggers who yesterday, collectively, came up with an excellent list of characteristics ALL adults who “set the example” for children to strive for: patience; persistence; delay of gratification; self-forgiveness; realistic expectations; collaboration; non-violence; inclusion; non-judgmental of parenting styles; and accepting and treasuring the different cultures, styles, interests and talents of the the children in their lives.

    I cannot help but predict–if students “see themselves” in the adults guiding them, and those adults represent the whole-kit-and-caboodle of ethnic and cultural exteriors, as those same adults are modeling Haftner’s list of characteristics that reflect our American values….  Well, maybe our children will someday get to live is a place where a person is judged, not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.
     

  9. Anon

    It is important to choose the most qualified applicant to teach our students.  Complaints about about schools that have lousy teachers abound.  Why would we want to exalt race over quality when hiring a teacher?  All things being equal, I have no problem choosing diversity as an additional and positive qualification.  But teaching expertise should be first and foremost. Otherwise we might as well just set up a quota system for diversity, which could result in mediocre or bad teaching.   JMO

      1. MrsW

        When an employer chooses to advertise a position, they have a choice.  Will they advertise at one place or a hundred places?  Will they advertise only in Portuguese language newspapers or in PanAmerican magazines? They’ll get a different audience, depending on where they perform outreach.  DJUSD is expanding their audience beyond Davis’ borders.  It is a good idea because it EXPANDS the pool of QUALIFIED candidates. Because the District has reached out to other ethnicities, races, and geographic regions, the District has MORE qualified candidates that ever before.

        Now say your are one of  the pool of QUALIFIED candidates.   Any person who is thinking about joining a new group, is going to think–will I be welcome?  Will I thrive there? This choice is associated with ANY GROUP– a club, a professional society, an exercise class, a neighborhood, a sorority, or a job.  Because at this point, they are joining a group.   When you consider tenure, a teacher is signing up to the group for the rest of their professional lives.  They have to ask themselves. Can I practice my craft well in that District for 30 years?  Can I raise my children there? Will my extended family visit me there?

        AS ANY PERSON WOULD, a qualified candidate is going to evaluate DJUSD and Davis on the basis of whether or not we are a welcoming community and if they feel safe, emotionally, intellectually and physically.  A man is going to consider, whether the school climate is supportive of male teachers.  A person from Kentucky, might consider how their accent will be received.  An agnostic will consider whether or not there is a local dominant religion.  Because a onsite interview is quite short, they’ll use visual cues, like the number of men in the lunchroom, or religious themed bumper stickers on cars in the teacher’s parking lot, or comments in the Vanguard to inform their decision.

         

         

      2. MrsW

        When an employer chooses to advertise a position, they have a choice.  Will they advertise at one place or a hundred places?  Will they advertise only in Portuguese language newspapers or in PanAmerican magazines? They’ll get a different audience, depending on where they perform outreach.  DJUSD is expanding their audience beyond Davis’ borders.  It is a good idea because it EXPANDS the pool of QUALIFIED candidates. Because the District has reached out to other ethnicities, races, and geographic regions, the District has MORE qualified candidates that ever before. Now say your are one of  the pool of QUALIFIED candidates.   Any person who is thinking about joining a new group, is going to think–will I be welcome?  Will I thrive there? This choice is associated with ANY GROUP– a club, a professional society, an exercise class, a neighborhood, a sorority, or a job.  Because at this point, they are joining a group.   When you consider tenure, a teacher is signing up to the group for the rest of their professional lives.  They have to ask themselves. Can I practice my craft well in that District for 30 years?  Can I raise my children there? Will my extended family visit me there? AS ANY PERSON WOULD, a qualified candidate is going to evaluate DJUSD and Davis on the basis of whether or not we are a welcoming community and if they feel safe, emotionally, intellectually and physically.  A man is going to consider, whether the school climate is supportive of male teachers.  A person from Kentucky, might consider how their accent will be received.  An agnostic will consider whether or not there is a local dominant religion.  Because an interview is short, they’ll use visual cues, like the number of men in the lunchroom, or religious themed bumper stickers on cars in the teacher’s parking lot, or comments in the Vanguard to support their ultimate decision.

        Yesterday, we had a blog that described a person of good character, modeling those characteristics to our children. Capable people of good character are present throughout the human race, and in every race. I am so happy to heard DJUSD is looking for them.

  10. Barack Palin

    For the life of me I’ll never understand why a white teacher would divulge their race on any application or survey if they didn’t have to.  We’re always told that checking the race box is for information only.  Well here is an example where checking the white race box could lead to not getting a job or being able to transfer to another district because they feel they have too many white teachers whether you’re more qualified or not.

    1. Davis Progressive

      weird.  the stats i read are that 76% of the employees are white in a community where only 56% of the students are.  how exactly are whites disadvantaged?

  11. Eric Gelber

    I’m always amazed that so many take it as a given that increasing diversity among employees requires lowering standards and hiring less qualified people—that it’s an either-or situation. One way of increasing the number of qualified applicants from diverse communities is through more effective outreach. One factor determining staff diversity and in attracting qualified staff from diverse and under-represented communities is how desirable and welcoming the work environment and local community are perceived to be to people from those communities. 

    In assessing quality of job applicants, moreover, diversity itself should be valued. More children will view teaching as a career goal if they have role models they can relate to, which, in turn, will make it easier to achieve equitable representation in the workforce. Cultural and linguistic competence should be taken into account in evaluating an applicant’s qualifications and abilities. There is inherent value to having a workforce that is representative of the diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds of the community.

     

  12. Tia Will

    South of Davis

    (I have never head of a “diversity” program that is looking for more males”

    Well you may not have heard of a “diversity program” that is looking for more males, but you have read my repeated posts that I ( just about as liberal an individual as you will ever encounter) have been on a years long, one woman quest to ensure that men are treated exactly the same as women applicants to our very large gyn department. To me, this is not about being liberal or conservative, it is about ensuring that every one who is well qualified has an equal opportunity at every position to which they aspire. It seems to me that this is a goal that we could all agree upon.

    Now it is true that women and minorities have been traditionally under represented and denied access to positions of power and those that tend to confer more material and/or social political rewards. This is the reason that I believe that you will hear liberals advocating for those groups more frequently. But that does not mean that we should not be addressing equality of opportunity where ever it occurs regardless of which group is being discriminated against.

     

    1. South of Davis

      Tia you seem to be quoting something I have never said.

      I did not say:

      “I have never head of a “diversity” program that is looking for more males”

      You added a letter and deleted words inside your quotes.

      I said:

      “I have never head of a “diversity” program that is looking for more male, white, straight, Mormon, athletic guys”

       

       

       

  13. Tia Will

    BP

    Tia Will, how many men and how many women doctors in your OB/Gyn dept.?”

    Not sure exactly since there have been a number of recent retirements of men but by my rough estimate there are about 75 of us with about 25 being men. Please bear in mind that this is just off the top of my head as I sit here at home trying to remember.

    For comparison when I was in training the ratio was closer to 90 % men to 10 % women but that was about 28 years ago.

  14. Frankly

    On the ideas for outreach and recruiting to help “fish” for qualified candidates of color to match the student demographic.

    First, it is racist.

    Second, it is a way to reduce the talent pool of candidates.

    Let’s me explain the second because the first point is self-explanatory.

    Part of the process of hiring is evaluating the self-motivation and interest of candidates.   In talent-constrained industries sometimes it is necessary to aggressively recruit… go out to find people currently employed to offer them something better or something more to get them interested.  But in industries where there are a good supply of capable employees, standard advertising for position availability should attract enough qualified candidates.  The act of looking for open jobs in desirable districts and putting in the effort to create a resume and plan for interviewing are indications of capability.   Going out to recruit essentially reduces or eliminates that indication.   It is a “let me reach out and take your hand and walk you to the interview because we need more candidates of color” approach.

    That is racist and it reduces the pool of talent.

    1. Anon

      I also believe there is a bias that creeps into the interviewing process when trying to achieve a “diverse” faculty/employee pool.  The hiring process can be somewhat, if not downright subjective.  If there is a push to hire an employee who is an ethnic minority as a preconceived agenda, then candidates who are not of an ethnic minority may be viewed with disfavor even if they are more qualified, than a less qualified candidate who is an ethnic minority.  The ethnic minority candidate’s ethnicity becomes a more important qualification, and everything about them somehow is seen in a more favorable light, than how competent the individual candidate actually is.

       

      1. Davis Progressive

        “The hiring process can be somewhat, if not downright subjective.”

        as someone who has been in on numerous hiring processes, how can it not be downright subjective?  people act as though there is always going to be a completely objective more or less qualified.  at the end of the day, everyone who makes the final cut is “qualified” then the question is who is the best fit for the given organization.  i don’t feel like there are great ways to determine that, at the end of the day it’s just a judgment call.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          There is subjective, and then there is stupid. We just let go of one local football coach two years ago who had turned the program around, to hire a local legend / black coach, who also did well (5-5 record). While battling a brutal disease, he got results and taught lessons. What did DJUSD do?

          They opened up the hiring process, and hired a different coach (3rd coach in 3 years), also African American, who was not local, I think had less experience, and had a full time job – not as a teacher. But he interviewed well and is likable. The team went 2-8, participation is down, coaches quit, coaches may have been fired, I think 4 or 5 total, one coach was known for excessive cursing, and the program seems to be in a nosedive.

      2. Frankly

        I absolutely agree with this.

        It is interesting to me to read about the theory of subconscious bias (basically that theory that if you are white you will be biased against non whites and not even know it)… and some of the same people insisting that we adopt policies in response to these theories will also demand race-sensitivity in hiring.   The message is clear… THEY are capable of eliminating any destructive bias, but NOBODY ELSE is.

      3. wdf1

        It depends on what is required of the position.  If the district is hiring someone who is tasked with interacting with Spanish-speaking parents in the district, then there is a stronger likelihood that the successful candidate would be a Spanish-speaking Latino.  But I can imagine a scenario in which a candidate who presents him-/herself as white could succeed if that person had strong Spanish speaking ability and perhaps more knowledge of social service resources and in other relevant areas than his/her rivals.

    2. Eric Gelber

      Frankly asserts:

      The act of looking for open jobs in desirable districts and putting in the effort to create a resume and plan for interviewing are indications of capability. Going out to recruit essentially reduces or eliminates that indication. It is a “let me reach out and take your hand and walk you to the interview because we need more candidates of color” approach.

      That is racist and it reduces the pool of talent.

      I see. Tell that to the major corporations, Wall Street law firms, etc. that recruit at Ivy League schools. They’d be interested to hear that they are reducing the pool of talent in their workforce by hiring the least motivated, least capable Harvard grads. And, of course, if they recruit at Howard University, they’d be racist to boot.

      1. Frankly

        You completely missed the “scarcity of talent” point.

        Harvard grads are considered a scarce talent resource so it makes sense that employers go out to fish for them.

        Teacher talent for Davis is not scarce.  It may be in some of the inner-city schools, but for the most part there are lists of candidates for each job.

        1. Eric Gelber

          So, DJUSD is wasting resources by doing any active recruitment at all (e.g., on college campuses)? Or is it a problem only when they recruit for purposes of diversity?

        2. Don Shor

          Teacher talent for Davis is not scarce.

          I have no idea how many applicants they get for a typical opening here. Do you? Can somebody enlighten us as to whether Davis has a high level of qualified applicants for teaching positions?

        3. Barack Palin

          I know of a couple of people that have teaching certificates and want a teaching job in Davis and they say it’s not easy to get hired.  One has been trying for three years.  No, good teachers aren’t scarce in Davis.

        4. Eric Gelber

          BP: Your conclusion doesn’t follow from your example. The fact that 2 people haven’t been able to be hired may only mean that DJUSD doesn’t hire every credentialed teacher who walks through the door–it doesn’t warrant the conclusion that good applicants aren’t scarce. Moreover, there may be sufficient quality applicants for certain grade levels but not others, or for certain subject areas but not others. Or there may not be sufficient applicants for special education teachers. Etc.

        5. wdf1

          Don Shor:  I have no idea how many applicants they get for a typical opening here. Do you?

          That’s a question that Matt Best could probably answer, in generalities.

          My guess is that probably secondary English teachers might be in some abundance, secondary math, probably more scarce.  General elementary credential probably more abundant, bilingual elementary credential for Spanish/Dual Immersion, probably more scarce.

        6. Frankly

          From what I have heard from my educator friends in this town, BP is correct.  There are many more qualified teacher candidates that want to work in Davis than there are jobs for.  When a teaching job opens, there is a small flood of resumes.

          It would be good to have someone with insider knowledge and experience confirm that.

        7. Davis Progressive

          that’s not a huge surprise given declining enrollment and budget cuts.  but the wave is about to hit with large amounts of retirements which will open up spots and opportunities.

  15. wdf1

    I have sat in on hiring committees for public workers in which similar diversity aspirations were sought.  I was not aware of race/ethnicity being the decider in determining the best candidate.  In every case there was one or more questions that sought to elicit what kind of awareness, sensitivity, or experience the candidate had in dealing with or addressing diversity.  A successful candidate would more likely be able to address these diversity-connected questions better than rival candidates.

    Although minority applicants may likelier have an awareness or sensitivity to diversity issues, white/caucasian applicants could do just as well in responding.

    One key strategy is for the applicant to establish a broader definition of diversity, more than just race/ethnicity.  Depending on the setting, diversity can be important with respect to age, economic background, educational background, mental/physical disability, gender identity/sexual orientation, marriage/family status, veteran status, English language ability, cultural issues, etc.  If you were to include issues of K-12 students, then diversity could also include learning and organizational styles, emotional/developmental maturity, stability of home environment,…

    Addressing diversity awareness by only saying, “I treat everyone the same,” is a bit flat as an answer, and could show a lack of awareness for what’s out there.

    Ideally, a diverse workforce would be an indicator that a work environment is welcoming for everyone, and some aren’t leaving because of a hostile environment one way or another.  It is also an indicator that the organization could be better equipped to interact with a diverse public.  In an educational setting it also means that the staff are better able to respond to all the student situations that occur.

    1. Frankly

      We will move on to the next phase in civil rights (CR 2.0) when we successfully judge a person not by the color of his/her skin, but by the content of his/her character.

      And related to that, I think we need to also test teachers for being focused on teaching to the student and not the student’s race or gender or ???

      A student of color comes to school and notes more white teachers and this matters why?

      My son is attending college and he complains only about the ability of the teacher to teach.  His teachers/professors come from everywhere, and it is the ones that cannot speak English very well that give him the most trouble.

      1. wdf1

        Frankly:  We will move on to the next phase in civil rights (CR 2.0) when we successfully judge a person not by the color of his/her skin, but by the content of his/her character.

        …and become aware that poverty (sometimes cast as “income inequality” these days) is a bigger social issue than race/ethnicity.

        …it is the ones that cannot speak English very well that give him the most trouble.

        They probably couldn’t find someone as qualified who spoke better English.  I had this issue with a math professor when I was in college.  I think I attended nearly every one of his office hours for the two semesters that I had him.  In later years I understand that his English got better.

        1. Frankly

          I would agree to scrap much of our focus on race and instead focus on economic circumstances as justifying some differentiation in services provided.  But for kids, I think we can and should just develop the mindset that every student is unique with a unique set of development needs.  We need to get better at assessing individual needs and developing a custom education path that leads to greater individual student success.  But we also need to redefine what education “success” is.   My definition is a measure of preparedness for the next step in life.

          “Couldn’t find someone as qualified who spoke better English.”

          This is an interesting comment and one that demand some serious reflection.  I think you might be right; but then it confirms one of the point I routinely make… that the education system care more about the employees of the system than it does the students of the system.  So they have to hire the candidate with the best credentials over consideration of who would be able to best teach the class.  I would assume that they would also have to hire the candidate with the most experience (seniority) over who could best teach the class.  Lastly I would assume that they would hire the minority candidate over who could best teach the class (assuming the differences were not profound enough to raise attention).

        2. Davis Progressive

          frankly: “I would agree to scrap much of our focus on race and instead focus on economic circumstances as justifying some differentiation in services provided.”

          there are two problems with that approach.  the vanguard has in the past reported that the achievement gap holds even when controlling for economic factor.  second, the research i cited below in response to anon, shows a clear impact on minority hires and minority student achievement.

        3. Frankly

          The achievement gap exists while holding economic factors…

          So let’s say we patch up our crappy education system by attempting to match teacher and student demographics.   What happens with the kids go out in the real world?  Are you also going to demand that we match boss-employee, and coworker demographics?

          I think you and others are grasping at very weak improvement opportunities that are really quite artificial.

          Good, engaging teachers transcend these types of racial barriers to learning.    The problem is simply the lack of good, engaging teachers.  They can be pink with purple spots and if they are good and engaging the kids will learn.

          If the race of the teacher is that much of a factor, I would worry that we are teaching to the race and hence we cause less engagement to occur with other students not of the teacher’s race.   Remember the ebonics debate?… this is in the same lane.

          It reminds me of affirmative action… a broken idea of compensating for race instead of fixing the roots of problems that cause unequal outcomes.

        4. Davis Progressive

          if you read the research, it appears that there are some critical time periods in the academic career.  there’s no research suggesting the need to match teacher and student demographics.

          “What happens with the kids go out in the real world? ”

          hopefully they’ll see a world more reflective of diversity than they see in the davis schools.

          “Are you also going to demand that we match boss-employee, and coworker demographics?”

          that’s a strawman argument since i never demanded the first match, but the second point is that again, in most industries the diversity is already there.  where it lags, we need improvement.

        5. TrueBlueDevil

          What happens when black students (and by extension, parents) chose to study less than white students?

          Even when this is documented and proven by apolitical Black intellectuals, there are still cries of racism and unfairness.

          Yes, the achievement gap would hold if the children study substantially less. And if there is a higher truancy rate (which we just found out in California, probably decades late). Neither major factor has anything to do with race. These are just two of many major factors that the Progressives try to ignore.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “For one, more black students don’t have the family core in place to push them to study harder.”

            Wow

        6. TrueBlueDevil

          Beats me. Freedom of choice I guess.

          Just as I have Asian-American friends who ride herd on their children regarding schoolwork, and some even have formal Saturday school, while others have informal Saturday school run by their Tiger Mom or Tiger Relative. Some might call it culture, others choice, others strategy.

        7. wdf1

          the vanguard has in the past reported that the achievement gap holds even when controlling for economic factor.
          NY Times, 2/9/2012, Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say
          It is a well-known fact that children from affluent families tend to do better in school. Yet the income divide has received far less attention from policy makers and government officials than gaps in student accomplishment by race.
          Now, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period.
          “We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race,” said Sean F. Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist. Professor Reardon is the author of a study that found that the gap in standardized test scores between affluent and low-income students had grown by about 40 percent since the 1960s, and is now double the testing gap between blacks and whites.

        8. wdf1

          the vanguard has in the past reported that the achievement gap holds even when controlling for economic factor.

          NY Times, 2/9/2012:  Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say

          It is a well-known fact that children from affluent families tend to do better in school. Yet the income divide has received far less attention from policy makers and government officials than gaps in student accomplishment by race.

          Now, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period.

          “We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race,” said Sean F. Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist. Professor Reardon is the author of a study that found that the gap in standardized test scores between affluent and low-income students had grown by about 40 percent since the 1960s, and is now double the testing gap between blacks and whites.

          In another study, by researchers from the University of Michigan, the imbalance between rich and poor children in college completion — the single most important predictor of success in the work force — has grown by about 50 percent since the late 1980s.

  16. Anon

    Here is where I am coming from.  I am not totally convinced diversity is an important qualification for being a school teacher or school administrator.  All things being equal, I would not have a problem preferring an ethnic minority candidate over someone who is not, because it might be considered an additional qualification.  Why?  Because children who are an ethnic minority might be more comfortable in a school setting if they saw teachers of their own ethnic persuasion.  Nevertheless, subject matter competency should be the most important issue when hiring a teacher, period, IMHO.

    That said, I do think there are some crucial areas where ethnic and sexual diversity probably should be an important factor.  For instance, police departments in predominantly ethnic minority neighborhoods should have similar ethnic makeups.  Political positions in local jurisdictions and even at the national level.  Judgeships.  For instance, it is most unfortunate that the population at large is approximately 50% women, yet there are very few female U.S. Congresspersons.  The Supreme Court finally got some woman on board, but prior to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor there were only male Supreme Court Justices.  It is important in politics and in the Supreme Court that the female viewpoint be represented.

    That said, I also think there are some positions where diversity should probably not be welcome.  It is perhaps better that police departments and the military are mostly men, given the nature of the job.  Doesn’t mean there should not be opportunities for women in law enforcement and the military, but diversity parity is much less an important factor and may not even be advisable.  And I can perfectly understand a woman preferring a female gynecologist over a male gynecologist, by the way.  I suspect that is a pretty common phenomenon.

    1. Frankly

      Gender matters more than does race, IMO.   It seems some European cultures do better supporting equal gender opportunity while also holding on to some of the cultural norms for masculine and feminine identification and roles.

    2. Davis Progressive

      “.  I am not totally convinced diversity is an important qualification for being a school teacher or school administrator. ”

      did you read the research?

      here let me help you, this is from the 2014 Oregon Minority Teacher Act STatus Report:

      1. Teachers of Color Serve as Role Models for All Students: Early proponents of diversifying the teaching force argue that white students as well as students of color benefit from seeing culturally and linguistically diverse educators; such daily interactions could potentially dispel myths of racial inferiority that white students might have internalized about people of color from socializations outside of school (Waters, 1989).

      2. Teachers of Color are Uniquely Positioned to Teach Students of Color: Teachers who are culturally and linguistically diverse tend to bring to teaching an understanding of minority students’ cultural, backgrounds and experiences (Gay, 2000; Nieto, 2000; Villegas et.al., 2012). And, although teachers of color vary significantly in their own backgrounds and experiences related to those of their diverse students, compared to their white counterparts, minority teachers are more likely to understand many aspects of the lives of minority students (Milner, 2006).

      this is from page 8 of that report with citations…

      It is critical that we also understand the impact of a diversified workforce in closing the academic achievement gap between white and non-white students. While there are multiple efforts, policies, and programs centered on this important social crisis, several studies have found that diversifying the field of education has both an immediate and long-term impact of closing the academic achievement gap. For example, research (Dee, 2004; Eddy & Easton-Brooks, 2011) has shown that when matched with a teacher of the same ethnicity, elementary-level students of color performed higher on academic achievement tests than those students of color who are not taught by a teacher of color. Easton-Brooks (2013), created the State Teacher Diversity Index based off of Boser’s (2011) Teacher Diversity Gap Index and found that, as the gap in percentage of diversity of teachers to the percentage of diversity of students in the state increased, the state’s achievement score gap between Spanish-speakers/white and African American/white students increased significantly. Given the gap between the percentage of diverse teachers to the percentage of diverse students, Oregon ranks 30th out of 50 states on the State Teacher Diversity Index.

      A study by Clewell et al. (2005) showed an increase in the reading and mathematics scores of African American and Spanish-speaking elementary students at 4th and 6th grade when taught by a teacher of their same ethnicity. For those Spanish-speaking students who were taught by a Spanish-speaking teacher of the same ethnicity, their mathematics scores at 4th and 6th grade were higher than those Spanish-speaking students who were not taught by a teacher of their same ethnicity. In reading, those Spanish-speaking students taught by a Spanish-speaking teacher of the same ethnicity scored higher than Spanish-speaking students who were not taught by a teacher of their same ethnicity.

      Two studies using longitudinal data showed that students of color who engaged with a diverse educator workforce had higher achievement test scores in reading (Easton-Brooks et al., 2010) and mathematics (Eddy & Easton-Brooks, 2011) than students who did not have at least one teacher of the same race between kindergarten and 5th grade. Easton-Brooks et al. found that African American students who had at least one African American teacher between kindergarten and 5th grade scored 1.50 points higher in reading than those students who did not have at least one African American teacher at the end of kindergarten. The reading scores of these students increased 1.75 points per year higher than those students who did not have at least one African American teacher between kindergarten and 5th grade. Similarly, Eddy and Easton-Brooks (2011) found that students who were exposed to at least one African American teacher scored 1.44 points higher on the mathematics achievement test at the end of kindergarten and the growth in the mathematics scores of these students was at least 0.64 points higher than those students not exposed to an African American teacher between kindergarten and fifth grade.

      these are long term studies that show that minority students do better when they have had at least one teacher of the same race early in their schooling.  there is research that suggests that this is a way to close the achievement gap.

      so if you’re not convinced, then i suggest you find these studies, read them, and see if they convince you.

      1. Frankly

        So, how is this working in the school districts that ARE, for example, comprised of mostly black teachers and black administrators and black students?

        You list three studies… and two of them are done by the same researchers.   I would want to thoroughly vet this as it is a largely fantastic claim… that whites alone cannot teach blacks well enough.  Seems pretty racist to me.  Also seems to point to a return to segregation of sorts.  Maybe all kids should only be taught by people completely matching their race, gender, sexual orientation, height, weight, hair color.  Because otherwise the kids cannot relate well enough to learn.  Right.

        I think studies like this are not done in consideration of what effective teaching does to improve outcomes.   With a deficit in effective teaching, well then maybe other things student-teacher racial matching helps a bit.

        I remain skeptical though.  I don’t think a kid cares what race a teacher is… only if that teacher can teach.

        1. MrsW

          I remain skeptical though.  I don’t think a kid cares what race a teacher is… only if that teacher can teach.

          Yesterday we had a conversation about how much a parent teaches by example.  You can extend that to all adults a child encounters.  Teachers are with our children 6-8 hours a day, a huge proportion of their waking hours.

          In Davis, there are a number of non-academic lessons taught in our schools.   Here is one related to race.  In 2005, Rose Parks died. It was all over the news.  Most people celebrate her actions and credit her courage with giving our Country a gift.  Yet, in one DJUSD elementary school classroom, a teacher decided not to talk about it at that moment, but wait until Black History Month, the following February.  When the African American parent of her African American pupil in the class conversationally asked, if they’d talked about it that day, the teacher said no, and they wouldn’t.  What was that day’s non-academic lesson to the single black child in her class? the 19 or 20 non-black students?

           

        2. South of Davis

          MrsW wrote:

          > In 2005, Rose Parks died. It was all over the news…. Yet, in one DJUSD

          > elementary school classroom, a teacher decided not to talk about it at that

          > moment, but wait until Black History Month, the following February.  When

          > the African American parent of her African American pupil in the class

          > conversationally asked, if they’d talked about it that day, the teacher said no,

          > and they wouldn’t.  What was that day’s non-academic lesson to the single

          > black child in her class? the 19 or 20 non-black students?

          What was the lesson?

          Last month former NY Governor (the father of the current NY Governor) Mario Cuomo died.  It was all over the news. At at least one DJUSD school his passing was not even mentioned.  The school does not have an Italian-American History Month (that I have heard of) to wait for.

          What was that day’s non-academic lesson to the two Italian American kids in her class?

          What was the days non-academic lesson to the 19 or 20 non-Italian-American students?

          If you want to think that the DJUSD teachers are racist and hate blacks it is easy to do so since they will never have the time to change their lesson plans to cover the passing of every black person that helped make things better in America during the Civil Rights struggle ~50 years ago.

          You will have just as easy of a time proving that DJUSD teachers hate Liberal Democratic Italian American politicians (or prominent Jewish Americans who helped the world learn about the Holocaust  or Mexicans who pushed for higher wages when farm workers were on strike) because they will not take a day off to study ALL of them as each of them passes on…

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          I’d agree that Rosa Parks is different than Cuomo.

          The non academic lesson is that adults aren’t perfect. Some teachers are rigid. or maybe it was math class.  I think the teacher was tone deaf, and hopefully the parent was graceful and thoughtful, from your post it sounds like maybe the parent wasn’t. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

        4. Barack Palin

          Yes TBD, I always take those studies with a grain of salt.  There are always too many variables and agendas involved.  Many times studies are done with a preconceived outcome and the data is all twisted to come to that conclusion.

        5. South of Davis

          David wrote:

          > Mario Cuomo and Rosa Parks are comparables in this respect?

          I never said they were “comparable”, my point was that “some” group is going to want to stop school once a month every time someone they respect passes on (or does something special).  When the school does not stop to talk about them it does not mean that they were not a great person (or did something special) it just means that the school is focusing on trying to teach ~20 kids who all learn differently the stuff they are supposed to master before going on to the next grade…

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            You didn’t say “comparable” but rather you “compared” them. The Rosa Parks death was a moment where the need for cultural and diversity understanding would have been an asset. You would have to strive very hard to find an equivalent – maybe John F. Kennedy and even that was national.

        6. South of Davis

          David wrote:

          > You would have to strive very hard to find an

          > equivalent – maybe John F. Kennedy

          Not to diminish anything that Rosa Parks did, but you would have a hard time finding anyone over 55 that can’t tell you WHERE they were when they heard JFK died and I bet you would have a hard time finding anyone today (that does not read the Vanguard) who can tell you what YEAR she died much less where they were (or even remember her actual name since even MrsW who was upset we didn’t spend more time talking about her called her “Rose” not “Rosa”)…

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            To add to that, I was actually surprised to learn in the early 1990s as a student that Rosa Parks was still alive. After all she was described in the 1950s in a way that it seemed like she was old at that time. That’s neither here nor there, just remembered that.

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        DP’s posts reminds me that the lowest test scores are for those that go to graduate school for “education”.

        Citing a study from a liberal bastion, you know what you’re gonna get. Tead the following citation posted by DP:

        “…such daily interactions could potentially dispel myths of racial inferiority that white students might have internalized about people of color from socializations outside of school (Waters, 1989).”

        Potentially? Might?

        The focus on race as the beginning and the end is so boring and intellectually vapid, incurious, pedestrian. There are dozens, hundreds, thousands of reasons why children might be succeeding or failing, and the libs are pre-loading the answers they presume they’ll find.

        But they run like they’ve seen Dracula when someone says, hey, let’s compare how Catholic schools do at educating children vs public schools. Many middle and upper class African Americans (yes, there are upper class blacks) were educated at inner city Catholic schools, some which had less moery than their fellow public schools.

         

        1. sisterhood

          My husband went to Catholic schools; I totally agree they used to be about one grade level ahead of public. They also taught him to question every notion anyone in a position of authority throws at you, which served him very well as a lawyer,  probably even propelled him into that line of work. He can tell you many horror stories of physical abuse handed down by the brothers and the sisters, too. (Southern CA) He can also tell you many wonderful stories of a nun that was very similar to mother Teresa. I have no idea how the teachers behave nowadays. We didn’t choose St. James or the other schools in Sac but many parents are very pleased with them, and I heard less complaints from my friends who were paying a fortune for those schools vs. Davis public schools.  Corporal punishment was still around in parochial schools as late as the early seventies. I can’t fathom paying someone to hit my kid.

  17. Miwok

    You people have covered all of the questions I have while reading this article, with maybe one exception:

    Why does a MATH teacher need to be a topic of Diversity? English?

    History and Social Studies/ Civics or whatever they call it, I feel a teacher could have a relevant perspective students would identify with. But Math or Science? Is it different for an Asian or Hispanic kid? Does the law of gravity somehow work differently if you are Black?

    Many teachers tell me they cannot stray from the curriculum, but I read stories all the time like the one above when Rosa Parks died. But then you may stray too far from the stuff in the books, go off the script. If you look at the textbooks, you may get some of that diverse culture back. What are you wanting to teach them?

    I see too many agendas, when you really need to address what you teach, instead of style over substance.

  18. TrueBlueDevil

    A preeminent scholar, anthropologist, and author had an analysis that would surely cause heads to explode in Davis.

    EAST BAY EXPRESS: Rich, Black, Flunking 
    Cal Professor John Ogbu thinks he knows why rich black kids are failing in school. Nobody wants to hear it.
    By Susan Goldsmith

    “The black parents wanted an explanation. Doctors, lawyers, judges, and insurance brokers, many had come to the upscale Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights specifically because of its stellar school district. They expected their children to succeed academically, but most were performing poorly. African-American students were lagging far behind their white classmates in every measure of academic success: grade-point average, standardized test scores, and enrollment in advanced-placement courses. On average, black students earned a 1.9 GPA while their white counterparts held down an average of 3.45. Other indicators were equally dismal. It made no sense….”

    “…The black parents feel it is their role to move to Shaker Heights, pay the higher taxes so their kids could graduate from Shaker, and that’s where their role stops,” Ogbu says during an interview at his home in the Oakland hills. “They believe the school system should take care of the rest. They didn’t supervise their children that much. They didn’t make sure their children did their homework. That’s not how other ethnic groups think.” …”

    “…The question of what students in Shaker Heights brought to school from their homes turned out to be profound. Black homes and the black community both nurtured failure, he concluded.”

    “When Ogbu asked black students what it took to do well in the Shaker district, they had the right answers. They knew what to say about how to achieve academic success, but that knowledge wasn’t enough. “In spite of the fact that the students knew and asserted that one had to work hard to succeed in Shaker schools, black students did not generally work hard,” he wrote. “In fact, most appeared to be characterized by low-effort syndrome. The amount of time and effort they invested in academic pursuit was neither adequate nor impressive.” …”

    “Ogbu found a near-consensus among black students of every grade level that they and their peers did not work hard in school. The effort these students put into their schoolwork also decreased markedly from elementary school to high school. Students gave many reasons for their disinterest.”

    http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/rich-black-flunking/Content?oid=1070459

    His book, from Amazon.com. “John Ogbu has studied minority education from a comparative perspective for over 30 years.”

    Black American Students in An Affluent Suburb: A Study of Academic Disengagement (Sociocultural, Political, and Historical Studies in Education) Paperback – January 3, 2003

    One commenter “No Excuses” wrote: “Dr Ogbu’s study caused a monstrous flap in our affluent, largely liberal community. For those that are curious, Shaker spends more than $13,600 per student in a medium cost of living area, and the mediam family income is over $63,000. Integration is not the issue, money spent per child is not the issue, attitude and academic performance is. Too bad, more minority parents have not heeded the warning.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Black-American-Students-Affluent-Suburb/dp/080584516X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423731008&sr=1-1&keywords=ogbu

    1. MrsW

      I should have answered my own question about Rosa Parks.  How will a student respond?   The answer is, “it depends on the child’s temperament.”  Many people, including children, let things go.  But there are many people to whom “letting it go” is not a natural response, particularly when it is something connected to their identity.  With respect to identity, this can be a big deal.  For example, after my mother left her church, her siblings didn’t talk to her for 25 years because they felt personally rejected.  My mother never stopped loving them or wanting to spend time with them.

      Our children are learning “Social Intelligence” in our Public school, at school.  It’s learning how to learn in a group or in spite of the group.  The group is a social entity with social rules and expectations.  Public School, any school, is not a factory where uniform resources enter at one end and uniform goods exit.  Education is an art precisely because of the diversity in student backgrounds and identities of those who enter its doors.  All people feel safer when their identity is acknowledged. The best educators are excited by this.

      1. South of Davis

        MrsW wrote:

        > For example, after my mother left her church, her siblings didn’t

        >talk to her for 25 years because they felt personally rejected.  My

        >mother never stopped loving them or wanting to spend time with them.

        One of the big problems I see in our society is that people tend to focus on the ONE thing that they don’t have in common and forget about the HUNDREDS of things they have in common.

        I see this every day in Davis where parents avoid someone because he is a Republican (or a Democrat), a Born Again Christian (or an Atheist) or does not Recycle (or Recycles EVERYTHING).

        People would be a lot happier if they were not fighting with their neighbors and family members about politics, religion and the environment and had nice conversations about all the things they agree on…

    2. Davis Progressive

      john ogbu is an interesting guy: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/08/26_ogbu.shtml

      Ogbu is known for his work that attempted to understand how race and ethnic differences played out in educational and economic achievement. He stirred controversy in 1986 when he co-authored a study that concluded African American students in a Washington, D.C., high school didn’t live up to their academic potential because of the fear of being accused of “acting white.”

      also:

      At the heart of his work was the way Ogbu differentiated among minority groups. “Voluntary minorities,” he said, come to a new environment with their collective identity intact. “Involuntary minorities,” he said, such as African Americans, formed their collective identity after coming to the New World and in the context of oppression by a dominant society. His distinction became part of the groundwork for understanding and debate on race and ethnic differences in educational and economic achievement.

      but perhaps most interesting is he was the ebonics advocate:

      In the late 1990s, Ogbu played a prominent role in the debate about the place of “ebonics” or black American English. As a member of a task force on African American education in Oakland, Calif., he stressed that beliefs held about “standard” or “proper” English required in the classroom were incompatible with black vernacular English that is spoken at home and outside school. Ogbu considered ebonics a distinct and not inferior form of black English, and encouraged teaching of ebonics as a way to help African American students transition to traditional English.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Sharp man, not a politician. RIP.

        His observations that black parents didn’t trust the school system yet held them responsible for the education of their children was quite interesting. Cognitive dissonance?

        In another middle class city with a solid black population, I continue to see a much lower turnout of black parents at educational events, and a higher turnout at athletic events.

        1. wdf1

          I’m not sure what your point is relative to the Vanguard article.  The Vanguard article seems to suggest that it is desirable to have racial/ethnic diversity in the teaching force.  Your raising Prof. Ogbu and his Shaker Heights research to me suggests that African-American students might perform better if there were more positive Black role models in an academic setting, and that could be achieved if a more diverse workforce were sought.

          I think this quote from your citation is worth remembering:

          The achievement depends on what expectations the teacher has of the students.” Hilliard, who is black, believes Shaker Heights teachers must not expect enough from their black students.  source

          A major backlash from desegregation following Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka, KS is that African-American teachers and principals who had run segregated Black schools were fired in substantially disproportionate numbers when schools were integrated.

          USA Today, 4/28/2004:  Thousands of black teachers lost jobs

          In the spring of 1953, with the Brown vs. Board of Education desegregation case pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, Wendell Godwin, superintendent of schools in Topeka, sent letters to black elementary school teachers. Painfully polite, the letters couldn’t mask the message: If segregation dies, you will lose your jobs.

          “Our Board will proceed on the assumption that the majority of people in Topeka will not want to employ negro teachers next year for White children,” he wrote.

          A year later, the high court declared segregation unconstitutional. Over the next 20 years, thousands of black educators in Topeka and elsewhere lost their jobs. Researchers say the firings decimated the black teaching force and educational tradition, helping set the stage for decades of poor performance by black students.

          It’s a little-known and unintended consequence of the ruling, but observers say the nation is still paying the price. “By and large, this culture of black teaching died with Brown ,” says Vanessa Siddle Walker of Emory University, author of Their Highest Potential: An African American School Community in the Segregated South.
          In 1954, about 82,000 black teachers were responsible for teaching 2 million black children. In the 11 years immediately followingBrown,more than 38,000 black teachers and administrators in 17 Southern and border states lost their jobs.

          Another source that I don’t have access to immediately highlights that white teachers who took their jobs did not connect with the African-American community and did not seem to have the same commitment to the success of African-American students as did their Black counterparts during segregation.

          Even in relating all this, desegregation was not a categorical failure.  There are instances in which desegregation was a success when the community made a proactive effort to embrace the process.

        2. Davis Progressive

          i think for the most part conservatives cherry picked the parts of his work they liked and i tend to agree with wdf overall.

          “I continue to see a much lower turnout of black parents at educational events, and a higher turnout at athletic events.”

          as measured by what? and how?

        3. South of Davis

          TBD wrote:

          > I continue to see a much lower turnout of black parents

          > at educational events, and a higher turnout at athletic events.

          Then BP wrote:

          > as measured by what? and how?

          What part of TBDs comment “I continue to see a much lower turnout of black parents at educational events, and a higher turnout at athletic events.” was not clear?  Why do you need to know “what” he used to measure it and and “how” it was measured?

          I’m guessing that BP and TBD don’t go to the same educational and athletic events so what is the point of asking for details on how he measured “participation”.  I’m not happy about this either, but I don’t need to try and cast doubt on his observation by asking questions.

          My nephews were on the Football and “Mathletics” teams in High School.  I ALWAYS see black parents at football games and I have NEVER seen a black parent (or student) at a “Mathletics” event (my white nephews are in the minority with mostly Asian and Indian kids and parents)…

          P.S. I just did a Google image search for Mathletics Event and scrolled through 100+ photos without seeing a single black kid or parent…

           

        4. Davis Progressive

          that’s dp not bp.

          the part that was not clear is how he was judging participation, was he counting it, how many events he went to – it seemed like a gross stereotyping based on what could only be very limited anecdotal experiences.

        5. South of Davis

          DP wrote:

          > that’s dp not bp.

          Sorry about the typo…

          > the part that was not clear is how

          > he was judging participation

          My main point is why would you doubt he did not have an accurate estimate of the participation without asking for details?

          It is unfortunate that less black (AND white and hispanic) parents attend educational events and academic competitions (like Mathletics) than asian and indian parents, but at least for me it is easy to see that I am in the minority as a white guy and that there are not any people of African decent (despite the fact that many Indians have very dark skin).

        6. TrueBlueDevil

          DP, as measured by my eyeballs and brain. I go to a number of events throughout the year, parent orientation, meet the teacher, college orientation (how to get into the college of your choice), etc. In a middle / upper middle class city which is approximately 10 percent African American, I either see no one, or there is one family that comes to maybe half the events.

          It has become so unusual that it stands out pretty easily, just as the top academic honors went 100% to Asian-American students. I didn’t have to bring a video camera, I saw it unfold, and I heard other parents comment about it. The second tier of academic awards included a strong Asian-American contingent, as well as a number of white and Latino kids, and one black student.

          The above mentioned family, the adults are all female, never a man participating. But when I attend sporting events, even small practices will have 1 or 2 black Fathers present.

          My sample size might be modest, but it is not anecdotal; I’ve seen this go on for decades. I had numerous black friends succeed academically in school (gain admission to the UC, military academies), but rarely did families show up. But a winning sports team brought out the whole extended family. At the same time I started to see my new Asian American colleagues have formal or informal “Saturday school” for their children years before the “Tiger Mom” book existed.

          These are not stereotypes, these are my flesh-and-blood observations. Ten years ago I witnessed Bay Area Asian high school students implement a strategy whereby they take chemistry or calculus at the local junior college the summer before they take it in high school – so they can have a jump on their classmates, a better chance a 4.5 or 4.7 GPA so that they have a chance of getting into Stanford, Berkeley, Davis or Harvard. I don’t know how widespread this is, but it stuck out.

  19. sisterhood

    Dear Mr. Best,

    How many Native Americans who have actually lived on a res are you interviewing? How many LGBT? How many physically disabled? How many recovered drug addicts? How many who have overcome crippling depression? How many dyslectic? How many who overcame the learning disability my son overcame, the one that not one teacher in all of Daviss identified, but a teacher at Sylvan discovered in less than eight hours? How many color blind people are you interviewing? How many who were severely bullied? How many who were young anorexic women? How many previous teen aged dads? How many previously battered women or children?

    Thank you.

    1. Davis Progressive

      why do these categories matter?  there is a large lgbt contingent of teachers – in fact, the guy who was arrested and recently resigned was one of them.

    2. wdf1

      sisterhood: How many Native Americans who have actually lived on a res are you interviewing? etc.

      A lot of the categories that you describe districts cannot legally ask about, and would only be known if the candidate volunteered the information.  But I happen to know of a number of teachers in the district who would fit some of the categories you describe.

      I have sat in on job interview panels in which a candidate identified in one of the categories you identify and used that trait effectively to make the case why he/she would be an asset to the organization.  And because this actually is public information (source), the Davis High School principal, Will Brown, apparently made an effective case that his past DUI experience has made him a better person.

      I think the case you are making is that employee diversity is far more than just race/ethnicity.

      1. sisterhood

        I’m a big believer in second chances. Is Mr. Brown still employed? Was his offense a misdemeanor, or a felony? Considering the amount of underage drinking that goes on at Davis High, I would think a DUI survivor would be a very good teacher.

        I hope, if found innocent  or expunged, Mr. O. B .will also be given a second chance. I guess if he plea bargains, no one will understand.

  20. MrsW

    TBD said–

    Integration is not the issue, money spent per child is not the issue, attitude and academic performance is

    One of the things that excites me about having a more diverse teaching and administrative staff at DJUSD, is that I think the probability that students will be called-out on their baloney will go up.  I think this because we’ll have adults around who can tell the difference between cultural dissonance and ordinary childhood baloney. That’s my hope.

    1. hpierce

      Actually, a point that is well made.  I was a ‘white’, attacked by a ‘black’ the day after MLK was killed.  My Vice Principal (‘black’) saw the attack, made sure I was OK, then verbally ripped my attacker a new orifice (guilted him for ‘what would MLK have done’, better than any Jewish mother or Catholic priest).  Had the VP been ‘white’, I might have thought (and my attacker might have thought) that ‘whites’ (or ‘blacks’) have to stick together because the “other ones” were out to get them.  I felt ‘restorative justice’, pretty much.

  21. wdf1

    I just read an item that is relevant to this issue.  The Teach for America program seemed like a good idea at first.  Over time, though, negative effects of the program have surfaced.  Some school districts have sought Teach for America staff as a way to cut costs from hiring longer term professional teachers (Teach for America staff earn a fraction of a professional teacher’s salary, and are only committed for maybe a couple of years).

    Awareness of these negative effects have created backlash on some college campuses and have reduced the recruitment of new staff for the program.

    This article points out how TFA has created staffing imbalances, demographically, relative to the K-12 student population:

    Teach for America to reduce its classroom placements in Memphis

    TFA’s presence has not been without controversy. While school administrators in Memphis have struggled to find and keep qualified math and science teachers to work in some of its lowest-performing middle and high schools, local hiring of young, mostly white TFA members coincided with layoffs of many older black teachers amid significant budget cuts.

    Local teachers’ union officials have maintained that TFA recruits aren’t qualified and equipped to teach students in low-income environments.

    The district is required to pay TFA a $5,000 annual fee per recruit, most of which comes from a $90 million grant awarded to the district in 2009 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. That money – designated for programs that improve teacher effectiveness in Memphis schools – soon will run out.

    1. hpierce

      Ahhh… the “guild argument” … by all means let’s keep non-union, competent, motivated people out of teaching to protect the maybe competent union folk.

      1. wdf1

        TFA members are generally not credibly motivated, in my view.  They’re not in it for the long haul.  Just doing their time for a couple of years while they think what else they might do, and getting some student loans paid off.

        I’m not seeing anything that tells me TFA staffing is a net benefit in the long term.  Do you?

        Kopp is Wendy Kopp, the founder of TFA:

        In 2011, Kopp spoke on a Seattle radio station, saying that people often misunderstand the function of TFA. “We’re a leadership development organization, not a teaching organization,” she said. “I think if you don’t understand that, of course it’s easy to tear the whole thing apart.” Critics claim this comment shows TFA exists more to advance the career of its recruits than of the students it claims to help.[22]  source

        1. South of Davis

          wdf1 wrote:

          > I’m not seeing anything that tells me TFA staffing is

          > a net benefit in the long term.  Do you?

          I’ve been on a DER e-mail list since the late 90’s when I was tutoring underprivileged kids in SF (I’m also friends with a TFA founder and I’ve met Wendy Kopp) and I have seen LOTS of benefits from TFA kids.  Sure some don’t cut it (despite getting good grades at Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Stanford) and not all of them make teaching a career but every one of the dozens of TFA kids I’ve met (including a cousin still teaching Spanish speaking kids in one of the poorest parts of TX five years after going there as a 22 year old TFA kid) have worked real hard and helped a lot of kids learn.  It is sad that so many people that want kids to learn can’t do it without bashing the anyone that is not in “their camp”…

          P.S. I just got a mailer from my CPA today and one of the items was “The $25o deduction for K-12 teachers (even those that don’t itemize) who pay for stuff out of their own pockets was retroactively restored for tax year 2014”.  I hope the union will not only work to get teachers more pay from the county but also help them learn about tax deductions they can take…

        2. wdf1

          This isn’t about individual nice, hardworking young adults in TFA that both you and I know.  This is reference to an ongoing strategy of using a bandaid as a permanent solution.  Generally it is higher needs districts who get strings of short term teachers from TFA over the long term, teachers who tend not to have a background similar to the students they work with, who have little socially invested in the community, and who don’t have a lot of longterm experience to draw upon.  There is little longer term commitment of TFA members (i.e., TFAers choosing to go into teaching, professionally, where they originally committed) because there isn’t the incentive to work, longterm in higher need districts.  I think TFA would work better if corps members were teaching assistants for longterm, better-trained teachers, instead of making TFAers the teacher of record.

          There is  a difference in how one approaches their job if it’s a short term vs. long term.  Education in this context is a long term process, and I think regular short-term staffing is incompatible with producing positive outcomes over the long term.  As an alternative, why not attract proven and experienced teachers to higher needs districts with higher pay incentive, as described here?

           

      2. wdf1

        hpierce:  You could pay experienced teachers with a track record more money and get better results, but you seem to be against that.  You want teachers to be taking a haircut.  It’s also possible that these teachers might belong to a union.

         

        What Happens When Great Teachers Get $20,000 to Work in Low-Income Schools?

        In 10 cities, including Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston, researchers at Mathematica identified open positions in high-poverty schools with low test scores, where kids performed at just around the 30th percentile in both reading and math. To fill some of those positions, they selected from a special group of transfer teachers, all of whom had top 20 percent track records of improving student achievement at lower poverty schools within the districts, and had applied to earn $20,000 to switch jobs. The rest of the open positions were filled through the usual processes, in which principals select candidates from a regular applicant pool.

        If a transfer teacher stayed in her new, tougher placement for two years, she’d earn the $20,000 in five installments, regardless of how well her new students performed. In public education, $20,000 is a whopping sum, far more generous than the typical merit pay bonus of a few hundred or a few thousand dollars.

        In the process, a remarkable thing happened. The transfer teachers significantly outperformed control-group teachers in the elementary grades, raising student achievement by 4 to 10 percentile points—a big improvement in the world of education policy, where infinitesimal increases are often celebrated.

        Perhaps even more importantly, the transfer teachers stuck with their new jobs. Over 90 percent remained in the high-poverty schools while the bonuses were being paid, and 60 percent stayed on after the experiment ended. That means the transfer teachers were about 20 percent more likely than other new teachers (those ineligible for the bonuses) to commit to working in a low-income school. That’s an important finding, because other recent research shows that in schools with high teacher turnover, student achievement suffers.

        It’s also worth pointing out that these transfer teachers were far from the Teach for America archetype of a young, transient Ivy League grad. Their average age was 42, and they had an average of 12 years of experience in the classroom. They were also more likely than control group teachers to be African-American, to be homeowners, and to hold a master’s degree. In short, they were stable adults with deep ties to the cities in which they worked.

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