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D65 increases minority share of teaching staff

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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.

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