June 10, 2009

Teachers and school demographics

A few weeks ago, the Journal of Labor Economics published C. Kirabo Jackson's study of teacher moves away from schools in Charlotte that were moving towards single-race, segregated status (see lay description here; subscription-required article here).

Today, the Education Policy Analysis Archives publishes Kitae Sohn's article, Teacher Turnover: An Issue of Workgroup Racial Diversity (secondary site), which focuses on the potential attrition associations with teacher demographics rather than the student demographics. The punchline from the abstract: beyond a relatively small threshold of racial diversity among the teaching staff, "young White teachers are more likely to stay in their original schools when the proportion of minority teachers is smaller." The article was accepted well before I knew of Jackson's study, and there are a few small (and disturbing) nuggets apart from the main findings.

I suspect that for both of these studies, there will be replications, criticisms, and debates, and that's absolutely appropriate. Both articles focus on what is an important issue for policy (how do teachers make choices about where to work), and the conclusions are fairly disturbing. For that reason alone, I hope that they are the start of more work in this area.

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Posted in Education policy on June 10, 2009 3:04 PM |