Ensuring Black Student Excellence: LAUSD Must Recruit, Prepare and Retain Black Educators 

by | Feb 5, 2022 | President Message, Advocacy, Education, Education & Training

This week, the Los Angeles Unified School District board will consider the Black Student Excellence through Educator Diversity, Preparation, and Retention Resolution. This resolution aims to hire, train, and retain more Black educators in LAUSD schools. On behalf of the Los Angeles Urban League and the Diversity in Leadership Institute (DLI), we urge the LAUSD board to unanimously adopt and immediately implement this resolution.

LAUSD has taken several recent steps to address the unmet needs of Black students in Los Angeles. This resolution is a critical next step, as it lays out a comprehensive plan for building and strengthening a pipeline of Black educators. 

The evidence is clear: representation matters. When exposed to Black teachers and administrators, Black students are less likely to be punished with suspension or expulsion, experiences that can impact their lives far beyond their educational experience. An increase in Black educators will benefit more than just Black students. A racially diverse and culturally responsive teaching community leads to better outcomes for all students. Having more Black educators and administrators will not eliminate the systemic racism in our society, but it is a critically important step.

Unfortunately, there’s a dire shortage of Black teachers across the state of California. A study by EdTrust found that the state’s teaching force is still overwhelmingly white, and more than half of all California schools have no Black teachers at all.

If LAUSD is genuinely committed to the success and achievement of Black students (and, indeed, all students), increasing the number of Black educators in our schools is non-negotiable.

We already have a solid foundation on which we can build. There are highly skilled Black educators in LAUSD who could be tapped for leadership roles, increasing senior-level diversity while creating opportunities for fellow educators of color. LAUSD has also prioritized retaining qualified teachers, with a 94% teacher retention rate over the past three years. LAUSD has already passed policies to address Black student achievement through the Black Student Achievement Plan, the Humanizing Education for Equitable Transformation (HEET) Plan, and the Validated Plan.

The resolution currently before LAUSD builds on this existing work while addressing a critical missing component by focusing explicitly on Black educators. We need a strong pipeline of Black teachers into classrooms and ensure that veteran Black educators in LAUSD have access to opportunities, support, development, and connections for more senior roles. A unanimous vote in favor of this resolution would show LAUSD’s genuine commitment to Black student success and clear the way for these measures to be put into action as soon as possible. 

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