Opinion
Recruitment & Retention Letter to the Editor

We Need Better Efforts to Hire and Retain Black Teachers

July 11, 2023 1 min read
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To the Editor:

Bettina L. Love argues that we should prioritize the retention of Black teachers, not the recruitment. At least, that is the message in her essay (“Stop Trying to Recruit Black Teachers Until You Can Retain the Ones You Have,” March 23, 2023). We should be doing both.

Recruitment efforts are often all sound and fury, with no change. Districts say they want to find more teachers of color, then use artificial barriers to constrain the numbers, including state certifications that are often time- and money-consuming.

Black teachers are wary of the way they are used, as Love notes. They are wary of job insecurity and low pay. They are more than just wary of the often-hostile work environment they come into, one that often assumes things such as the idea that Black males must assume “disciplinary roles” for which they are not trained.

As for retention, the conditions that keep any teacher in their school would also work for Black teachers: decent salaries, coaching support, classroom-management training, sustainable workloads, respect for their professionalism, and genuine care for healthy conditions and facilities. Add to that a recognition that there are issues related to identity that deserve and demand attention and action. These differ district to district, even school to school.

The one thing we currently lack is honest and well-funded efforts to train, hire, and retain Black teachers.

Jon McGill
Academic Director
Baltimore Curriculum Project
Baltimore, Md.

A version of this article appeared in the July 12, 2023 edition of Education Week as We Need Better Efforts to Hire and Retain Black Teachers

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