The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Prejudiced Teacher Hiring in Northern Virginia

Jul 17, 2017

Black teachers applying for public school teaching jobs in Fairfax County, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C., were less than half as likely to be offered a job as white teachers were, according to a recent study of a year’s hiring.

Black applicants were 13 percent of the nearly 12,000 people who applied, but got only six percent of the job offers. White applicants were 70 percent of the people applying, but got 77 percent of the offers. It didn’t matter that the black applicants on average had two years more teaching experience than the white applicants and were more likely to have a master’s or doctor’s degree. The researchers looked at many factors like where the applicants had studied, taught, and lived. But they found that what mattered most was the color of the applicants’ skin. The white applicants were twice as likely to be offered a job.

This racial bias explains how in a state like Virginia, where almost one-quarter of the students are black, only one-tenth of the teachers are black. And around the country, 16 percent of students are black, but fewer than seven percent of teachers are black.

Keeping teaching jobs out of reach for qualified people -- another poisonous side of racism.