San Fran School District Wants More Black Teachers

February 10, 2015  |  

The San Francisco Unified School District is making a move that it hopes will help close the achievement gap between students of different races. They will start hiring more Black teachers.

“The research shows that students of color do better on standardized tests and have a stronger sense of self-efficacy when they have adults in their schools who look like them,” Swen Ervin, a SFUSD human capital specialist in charge of recruiting more teachers of color to the district, told The Huffington Post. “And I think teachers, more than anyone, provide an image of success for students.”

According to Ervin, maybe even more importantly is having more Black teachers teaching students who are not of color.

“For white students, having more teachers of color in their schools provides them with an image of what people of color are that can go along way to dispelling a lot of stereotypes that they might pick up,” he said.

There is definitely a need for change in the district. Data from the 2013-2014 school year shows that the lowest performers on standardized test have one of the highest dropout rates. According to KQED, these students make up eight percent of SFUSD while only 5.5 percent of the district’s teachers are Black.

SFUSD has been taking other actions to improve the achievement of Black students in the district. At the beginning of the year, the district hired its first special assistant for African-American achievement. The district created this new position after it decided to participate in President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

And at the end of last year, a group of SFUSD librarians launched a “Teaching #BlackLivesMatter” online resource that compiles materials teachers can use while discussing the movement in the classroom.  This move came during the same month the Board of Education approved a resolution implementing ethnic studies in all of the district’s high schools.

On another front, SFUSD recently revealed successful results in its push to reduce the disproportionate number of suspensions among Black students. The figure dropped 17 percent from last year due to such proactive efforts as daily check-ins and rewards for good behavior.

Do you think hiring more Black teachers will result in higher achievement by students of color?

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