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The Percentage of Black Teachers Declined in Nine U.S. Cities. That’s a Big Problem

A study released Wednesday by the American Federation of Teachers found that, just as American schools are getting more and more segregated, teachers in several major American cities, including the nation’s three largest school districts, are getting progressively less diverse, particularly when it comes to black teachers.

Nationwide, the percentage of nonwhite teachers increased from 12 to 17 percent between 1987 and 2012, but the minority population of students has increased at a much faster rate. Minority students now constitute more than half of the public school student population in the United States, up from 31 percent in 1993 and 41 percent in 2003.

“The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education,” released Wednesday by the American Federation of Teachers–affiliated Albert Shanker Institute, studied teacher hiring and retention patterns in nine major U.S. cities—Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.—and concluded that achieving the ideal of teacher diversity remains an uphill slog. “As a general rule,” the report found,