State reports show that Evanston/Skokie School District 65, under pressure from activists to increase the number of “teachers of color” on its staff, has — for the most part — done just that.

But the increased minority representation has not included black teachers.

Data from the Illinois State Board of Education shows that white teachers declined from 78 percent to 71 percent of the district’s work force over the past five years, while the percentage of white students in the schools declined from 51 to 49 percent.

The percentage of Hispanic teachers increased from 4 to 9 percent of the teaching staff, while the percentage of Hispanic students increased from 18 to 20 percent.

The percentage of Asian teachers increased from 3 to 4 percent, while the percentage of Asian student increased from 4 to 5 percent.

And the percentage of multi-racial teachers increased from 0 to 3 percent, while the percentage of multi-racial students increased from 8 to 9 percent.

However, the percentage of black teachers has dropped from 15 to 13 percent, while the percentage of black students has dropped from 26 to 23 percent.

It’s unclear if the dramatic increase last year in the percentage of teachers listed as multi-racial may have reflected a shift in the classification of existing staff members from one of the single-race categories.

The chart above shows the trend in the ratio of teachers of a given race or ethnicity in the district to students of the same race or ethnicity.

If the teachers and student body were equally matched, all the numbers would be at 1.0.

ISBE data also shows that District 65 comes closer than the statewide average to matching the race and ethnicity of its teaching staff to its student body.

Federal reports issued in 2016 and 2017 note that minorities are dramatically underrepresented in the teaching workforce nationwide.

The Organization for Positive Action and Leadership, which staged a protest last fall outside District 65 headquarters over the achievement gap for black students and called for hiring more black teachers as a means to address the issue, plans to push for the district to hire a director of black student achievement during the board’s regular meeting next Monday, Jan. 22.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. The object should be to hire

    The object should be to hire only the best, most qualified teachers. Period.  Ridiculous to equate effectiveness with race. If the hiring of a director of black achievement is approved, would there be a racial qualification attached and how much time would be given to that individual to show a drastic turnaround?

    1. come on now, you’re using

      come on now, you’re using logic and that is not allowed anymore. We must view everything through the lens of color so we can virtue signal our way into enlightenment. 

  2. When will race not be a qualifier anymore?
    Would you want your child to be taught by a white teacher, a black teacher or a good teacher? Why does race matter when there are an assortment of clubs/associations built into the school specifically for minorities? Those associations that are for specific races only show that “equity” and “empowerment” are only for minorities…..kind of ironic don’t you think?

    1. teachers

      Thanks for the fantastic comment…….white, black, young, old, educated at a state sschool or Harvard…there are too many BAD teachers, no matter who they are or where they came from.   It’s a shame that nobody seems to be hiring for the right reasons…or maybe they are not getting evaulated properly.   The heck with tenure.  If a teacher is ineffective, rude, lazy, or whatever..they need to go!   Simple as that.   

  3. Black administrators have gone up, I suspect

    First, I agree with the above comments that I think having qualified compassionate teachers for ALL students should be the #1 priority, not their race. Secondly, with regards to some of the statistics above, while the ratio of black teachers to students has remained relatively flat, it does seem like the board and superintendent are making a concerted effort to hire black administrators. I don’t have the total count, but during the influx last year of five new principals, three were black and two were white (all women). Two out of the 3 “permanent” principals were black while the other two (one white, one black) were interim appointments.

    If anything, the “group” that is completely underrepresented as teachers is males considering 50% of the student body are male and studies have shown that boys and girls generally learn differently — that is, different techniques optimize their ability to grasp and retain more knowledge, so if anything, having more male teachers might actually make an impact to help male students (who ARE behind their female counterparts for some reason — of course, this is a nationwide phenomenon).

    On the other hand, no study has shown that Asian, White, Hispanic, or Black students are “wired” differently for learning (based on biological differences) like the case seems to be for gender. I certainly acknowledge it is hard to have an even number of male and female teachers as women dominate the field of education, so it’s more a function of the talent pool, so I’m not suggesting that it should be a perfect 50/50 representation. Also, it’s not necessarily the case that a male teacher better understands the male psyche at those ages and can teach to optimize their abilities. Certainly, female teachers may be well-versed in techniques to optimize learning for both genders and be effective in implementing those techniques. But if you’re looking for “diversity in hiring” with the goal of improving student performance, I’d argue looking for more teachers that can improve boys’ performance as a whole would be a better technique and strategy given the different needs of the male student base.

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