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Why LAUSD Is Being Advised To Step Up Recruitment Of Black Teachers

Four students sit at long tables lined with black tablecloths and gaze toward a screen that's out of frame behind the photographer. They have serious expressions on their faces. A television news camera points over the photographer's head in the direction of the screen.
Students at Panorama High participate in a roundtable discussion about the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court in April. Having a Black educator is tied to academic success for Black students.
(Kyle Stokes
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A study examining LAUSD schools found that about 20% of students and educators are Black and 93% of Black students have at least one Black educator at their schools.

That's an important metric because having a Black educator is tied to academic success for Black students.

The study from LAUSD's Independent Analysis Unit reviewed teachers, administrators, and students to assess how many Black educators there are, where they are, and if Black students have access to them.

Analysts found there was cause for concern: LAUSD is losing about 100 Black educators per year to retirement.

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“So one of our recommendations to the Board was to really look at how many younger Black teachers are being recruited to the district,” said Megan Besecker, a senior policy analyst.

And although the vast majority of Black students currently have at least one Black educator at their school, the study found elementary schools were most likely to fall in the 7% of schools where that was not true.

In all, the study identified 183 elementary schools where Black students were enrolled that had no Black educators on staff.

• 15 of these schools served 30 or more Black students, including Lomita Elementary Magnet, which served close to 100 Black students.

• Of the 164 remaining elementary schools, half served 5 or fewer Black students, and the other half served between 5 and 30 Black students.

Besecker says that while it may not be realistic to hire enough Black educators to staff every school, the district can act where the need is greatest.

"We can look at, you know, there's a school that has 100 Black students, and it doesn't have a Black educator," she said. "Maybe we want to look at how teachers are being recruited at that school?"

The study also found that Black teachers tend to work in majority Black neighborhoods. But not all Black students attend schools in Black neighborhoods.

A color coded map delineates the geographic local districts of LAUSD
(Courtesy LAUSD)
Bar charts show the percentage of students by race/ethnicity in each of the geographic local districts of LAUSD for students, teachers and administrators.
(Courtesy LAUSD)
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Overall, LAUSD has a higher percentage of Black educators than both L.A. County and the state.

Bar charts show percentage of full-time teachers who are Black, Latino, White, Asian and Other races in LAUSD, other L.A. County schools and the state overall.
(Courtesy LAUSD)

At the same time, Black LAUSD employees are better represented in the administrator ranks than among teachers. The study found 20% of district and school administrators were Black and less than 10% of teachers were Black.

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