Teacher Segregation in Los Angeles and New York City

The effort to diversify the teacher workforce in U.S. public schools has received increasing attention in recent years, including a major 2015 Shanker Institute report examining the state of teacher diversity in nine large cities. The impact of levels of racial and ethnic diversity, however, will depend in no small part on the distribution of that diversity within and between districts. In other words, the benefits for teachers and students of a more diverse teacher workforce are influenced heavily by the degree to which teachers are distributed across districts schools by race and ethnicity. And, while there is decades of strong research on student segregation, there is virtually none on that among teachers.

In this report, we present a descriptive analysis of teacher segregation in the two largest districts in the U.S. - New York City and Los Angeles Unified. We find meaningful levels of teacher segregation in these districts, particularly of Black teachers from their White, Hispanic, and Asian colleagues. We also find that, unlike student segregation, teacher segregation is driven as much by the separation of minority teachers from each other as it is by the separation of White teachers from minority teachers. Finally, our results suggest that teacher segregation is related systematically to that of students, which can have a rather drastic effect on the experiences of those students. Black students in NYC and LA, for example, are four to five times more likely to have a Black teacher than are their White peers. Recent efforts to improve teacher diversity must include close attention to teacher segregation, and states and districts should be collecting the data necessary to do so.

You can view and/or download (PDF) the full research brief directly below.

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