In Bridgeport schools, the Hispanic/Latino demographic makes up 49 percent of the student body while teachers of the same demographic comprise 10.45 percent of the faculty. Black/African American students account for roughly 38 percent of the student population while black/African American teachers total about 13 percent. White students account for 9.27 percent of the total student population. White teachers, 74.30 percent of the faculty. These statistics provided by school officials at the request of OIB illustrate a demographic gulf the new-look Board of Education will be challenged to close.
Among 1502 teachers in the school system, 193 are black/African American, 157 are Hispanic/Latino, 1116 are white.
Read the full report here.
Is it possible for a Hispanic student never to experience a likewise teacher in public schools? The same for African American students? It’s a disparity challenging urban districts around the country, as pointed out by Melissa Bailey of the New Haven Independent here.
The issue gained public attention last week, when the school district chose a black male teacher, Garfield Pilliner, as its teacher of the year.
Some said the shortage of men like Pilliner in the teaching force is a grave concern for black boys, who are more likely to drop out of school, face unemployment, and–in Connecticut–12 times more likely to end up in prison than their white peers.
Pilliner worked at Bridgeport’s Harding High before joining New Haven public schools in 2009.
It raises the question: does race/ethnicity matter? Is it more productive in the cause of student advancement for the faculty to reflect the statistical makeup of the student body?
Maria Pereira who recently completed a four-year term on the Board of Education tells OIB this is an issue the school system has struggled with for some time.
The BBOE has discussed this over the last 4 years. We actually discussed it at length at our November 12, 2013 regular meeting.
It has been an issue for some time. There have even been recruitment efforts in Puerto Rico and historical African American colleges. I have never seen any significant results with these recruitment strategies.
A new Board of Education with four fresh faces is expected to conduct its organizational meeting Monday night at 6 at the Aquaculture School, 60 St. Stephens Road. Sauda Baraka is the favorite to become the new board chair. One of the challenges facing the nine-member body will be a successful policy to close the disparity gap.