Teaching Profession What the Research Says

Educators of Color Cite ‘Invisible Tax’

By Catherine Gewertz — October 01, 2019 1 min read

Teachers of color are being hired at a faster clip than white teachers, but progress in hiring doesn’t necessarily mean progress in retaining teachers, finds a report by the Education Trust and Teach Plus.

The report lays out reasons teachers of color leave, based on focus groups with 88 black or Latino teachers in five states, and case studies of administrators who retain teachers of color.

One theme that emerged from teachers’ comments reflects what some have called an “invisible tax” on teachers of color. When a black teacher goes the extra mile for a student, because she understands a particular struggle a black student is having, for instance, that time—and that skill—should be recognized through compensation, teachers said. They described workplaces where their hairstyles or wardrobe were unwelcome or where they were not allowed to customize their instruction to be culturally relevant for their students. They discussed meetings where their ideas are rejected, only to be embraced when they come from a white colleague.

A version of this article appeared in the October 02, 2019 edition of Education Week as Educators of Color Cite ‘Invisible Tax’

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