TQB: Teacher Quality Bulletin

Student body demographics could influence teacher hiring decisions - but we need more data

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While principals consider a wide range of factors when hiring new teachers, a new working paper from the Annenberg Institute at Brown University adds additional insight into the important question of how race impacts these decisions. Using 17 years of Texas data, researchers Lauren Bailes (University of Delaware) and Sarah Guthery (Texas A&M University) find that a principal is less likely to hire a teacher of color as the proportion of White students in that principal's school increases.

For example, when the composition of the student body changes from having a quarter of students of color to less than 15%, there is an associated 7% reduction in the likelihood that a principal will hire a teacher of color. This relationship has the effect of increasing the racial homogeneity of the school overall.

It's worth noting that the researchers weren't able to examine the race of the pool of applicants, meaning that there may have been instances when the candidate pool was all White, likely skewing the results.

Given the murky waters at this point of the hiring process, it may be more useful to look at the diversity of teacher preparation programs. Drawing upon Title II data, NCTQ's interactive diversity of teacher prep program enrollment tool examines the data on racial diversity for teacher prep enrollment, the state teacher workforce, and the state and local community populations for over 1000 higher education institutions.