How California Districts Seek to Recruit, Retain Black Teachers Amid Shortage

Experts blame the shortage on underrepresentation in colleges and discrimination on the job


A growing body of research shows that Black students who have at least one Black teacher growing up are more likely to graduate high school and enroll in college than those who don’t.

Yet California still woefully lacks Black teachers.

Experts attribute the lack of Black K-12 teachers in California to a number of barriers, including underrepresentation in teacher credentialing programs, as well as workplace discrimination that prompts some to leave the profession.

As America attempts to reckon with racial injustice, some California school districts are adopting teacher pipeline programs specifically targeting potential Black teachers while also making efforts to retain teachers and listen to what might turn them away.

California Department of Education data shows that in the 2018-19 school year, the most recent year available, only 3.9% of public school teachers in the state — around 12,000 — were Black, according to Ed-Data. Meanwhile, Black students — about 335,000 — made up 5.4% of the state’s enrollment.

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