Los Angeles Unified should direct its focus to supporting, retaining and recruiting Black teachers, according to an independent analysis released last month. The report was conducted as part of the “Black Student Excellence through Educator Diversity, Preparation and Retention” resolution passed in February and was meant to shape the district’s strategic plan for the distribution of Black educators and students.
The report found that the percentage of Black teachers in the district is similar to the percentage of its Black students. While 8% of LAUSD students are Black, 9% of its teachers are, a proportion higher than that of the county and state. More than 90% of Black students in LAUSD attend school with a Black educator.
In contrast to other demographics within the district, LAUSD’s Black educators are actually better represented among administrators than teachers, accounting for a fifth of administrators.
However, the number of Black educators is decreasing, which means LAUSD must focus on providing more support to its current educators as well as focus on recruitment, according to the report. Since 2016, LAUSD has lost 700 Black teachers. Black educators also skew older in comparison to other demographics, with 28% of Black teachers under the age of 45.
Because of that, the report recommends that the district focus on recruiting early career teachers as well as teachers at the elementary school level, where kids are less likely to encounter Black teachers. It does note, however, that LAUSD’s pool is limited because the proportion of Black educators aligns with the county’s demographic breakdown. According to census data, the Black population accounts for 9% of the total county population as of 2021.
Diversity in Leadership Institute CEO Laura McGowan-Robinson considers the report a good first step in the right direction as LAUSD moves forward in its commitment to Black educators.
“The concern is there are more Black educators nearing retirement than there are younger Black educators coming into the system,” she said. “While there isn’t an issue in terms of representation yet, the concern was that there will be one on the horizon.”
The Diversity in Leadership Institute and other members of the Charting the Course to Equity Coalition are awaiting next steps and urging LAUSD to move forward with the recommendations in the report. They are also requesting the district formally present the report to the community.—Kate Sequeira, EdSource, June 8, 2022