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The Number Of Black Teachers Has Dropped In Nine U.S. Cities

The number of black public school teachers in nine cities — including the country’s three largest school districts — dropped between 2002 and 2012, raising questions about whether those school systems are doing enough to maintain a diverse teaching corps, according to a new report to be released Wednesday.

The study by the Albert Shanker Institute, a think tank funded by the American Federation of Teachers, looked at teacher data from nine cities: Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The research found that each city saw a drop in the number of black teachers in traditional and charter schools.

The issue of teacher diversity is important because research has suggested that students who are racially paired with teachers — black teachers working with black students and Hispanic teachers working with Hispanic students — do better academically. Teachers of color also can serve as powerful role models for minority students, who are more likely to live in poor neighborhoods than white students and less likely to know other adults who are college graduates.