Teacher Diversity Report Coverage Ignores Missing Districts

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From what I can tell, nobody else but me was bothered by the news coverage resulting from a new Shanker Institute report on teacher diversity in nine big-city school districts. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a point.

The new report, issued by the AFT-sponsored think tank, is titled The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education. “This report shows that nationally, progress toward greater diversity is being made, but it is quite modest compared to the need for more minority teachers,” notes the introductory text. “In the nine cities studied… the picture is much more bleak, and there are only a few pockets of progress, surrounded by serious setbacks.”

You can follow the discussion of its findings on social media using #teacherdiversity

The Washington Post’s Lyndsey Layton wrote about the report in a piece (The number of black teachers has dropped in nine U.S. cities). EdWeek covered the report with this story (Number of Black Teachers Has Fallen in Nine Large Cities, Sometimes Drastically).

However neither of these pieces really addresses the fact that the nine districts included in the report include just 3 of the biggest districts in the nation, leaving out districts like Miami, Houston, Dallas, Clark County (Las Vegas), Broward County, Houston, Hillsborough, Orange County, Fairfax County, Gwinnett County, and may or may not be representative of what’s going on nationally among urban districts or among teachers in general.

There’s no comment or response from the Council of Great City Schools, which represents the nation’s biggest districts. There’s nothing about how the 9 districts were selected, or why the other big city districts were excluded. 

For a list of Council of Great City Schools districts (the largest in the nation), click here. For a list of biggest districts in the nation click the Wikipedia link here.

Related posts: Washington Post Does A Correction RightPDK Poll Coverage Reveals Need For More Regular Use Of Polling Data By JournalistsA Nagging Disconnect Between Vivid Anecdotes & Underlying Data.

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.