Here’s an article from the Brookline High School student newspaper, about the lack of diversity in their teaching staff:
The English and social studies departments have had difficulty hiring their preferred candidates of color this spring due to two roadblocks: salaries that do not honor out of state teaching experience and a state-mandated Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) endorsement, which verifies a teacher’s ability to teach English Language Learners.
English Curriculum Coordinator Mary Burchenal said that she was unable to hire an African-American candidate that she thought was an excellent candidate. The candidate believed that Brookline was a better fit for him than another district that offered him a job, but he took the other district’s offer because of the large salary offer disparity — the difference in salary totaled $20,000.
“To my knowledge, we have never had an African-American male teaching English at Brookline High School. He was a terrific candidate,” Burchenal said. “He just had a lot to offer a lot of students across the spectrum at this high school. I was extremely disappointed not to be able to make him an offer that respected his years of experience and that communicated how valuable a teacher we thought he was.”
According to Burchenal, Interim Superintendent Joseph Connelly did not choose to exercise discretion and offer the candidate a higher salary that would recognize his years teaching out of state, educational degrees and number of education credits. According to Human Resources Director for Public Schools of Brookline Elaine O’Sullivan, the superintendent can do so in 10 cases a year. Connelly did not reply to requests for an interview.
The salary a teacher is offered is based on the years a teacher has been teaching and their academic advancement. However, according to the most recent contract between the Brookline School Committee and the Brookline Educators Union (2011-2014), teaching experience does not include years teaching outside of Massachusetts (pg 4). Teachers coming from another state do not get credit for those years, and as a result, must start at a lower base pay than they were at in the previous state they taught in.
Burchenal thinks that even a $10,000 increase in Brookline’s offer could have swayed him.
First things first – always hire the best candidate. There is this stupid obsession with diversity that is based on the the racist theory that students of color and only learn effectively if taught by teachers of color. When the DOJ came to Worcester last summer there was an animated discussion about this. High School students were allowed to distribute this flyer, alleging undocumented anecdotes about “racist” things their teachers had said to them:
In their opinion the teachers said these things because they were white, and as a result they couldn’t reach students like a teacher of color could reach them. Obviously most of these things never happened, and the fact that the city and DOJ allowed students to trash their teachers at a government sanctioned “discussion” on race was appalling. This is why obsessing about the race of teachers is a bad thing.
Anyway, as we’ve pointed out a million times before, there aren’t enough people of color in the market for teaching jobs to accurately match the diversity of the students they’re teaching. Black and Latino people simply are not pursuing careers as teachers. That’s the reason they’re not being hired. Ask anyone who has been involved with a hiring committee in a school – the resumes just aren’t coming in.
That’s because teaching is an underpaid and disrespected profession. They’re held to ridiculous standards and they’re constantly under attack from both democrats and republicans. George Bush brought us No Child Left Behind, and Barrack Obama brought us “Race to the Top” which allowed mass firings of teachers in urban districts simply because their standardized test scores weren’t high enough.
Teachers are required to take classes constantly throughout their career (often paid for out of pocket), and get at least a Master’s Degree. Here is what the pay scale looks like at Brookline High School:
Since Brookline is a very expensive city, it commands higher teachers salaries. These are significantly hire than Worcester or Spencer-East Brookfield. Since the black candidate for the teaching position at Brookline High School has a PhD, and if they were given credit for five years of teaching, they would come in at an entry level salary of $70,784. The most they could ever make is $103,432.
That might seem like a lot, but it’s not if you have a PhD. The average salary for a worker in the Boston Metropolitan area with a PhD is roughly $122,000:
Because people with PhD’s are extremely smart and can basically have any job they want. If you are a person of color it opens even more doors as companies are constantly looking to diversity their workforce. A middle aged black man with a PhD can command a very high salary in the private sector.
So why then would a black teacher with a PhD ever subject himself to a career in teaching? You get paid less money. Your job is essentially tied to the outcome of your students on a standardized test. You have to assemble a gigantic binder every year to prove that you are a good teacher to a bunch of overpaid useless hacks who could never teach.
This is why most schools have a predominantly white teaching staff. Not that it matters, because only a bigot would think the skin color of their teacher at all affects their ability to do their job. The end.
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