In this article, Diana D’Amico, Robert J. Pawlewicz, Penelope M. Earley, and Adam P. McGeehan examine the racial composition of one public school district’s teacher labor market through teacher application data and subsequent hiring decisions. Researchers and policy makers have long noted the lack of racial diversity among the nation’s public school teachers and identified supply as the root cause. Using a historical framework and problem definition theory, the authors question this supposition and explore the issue as a function of demand. Investigating a unique data set comprising all of the applications for teaching positions in a single, large school district, they analyze the extent to which race is associated with principals’ hiring decisions. They explore the rates at which Black and White candidates apply for teaching positions and compare those to the rates at which they are hired and the school demographics in which they are placed. Through a logistic regression analysis, the authors present evidence of discrimination in teacher hiring. Ceteris paribus, Black applicants were significantly less likely than their White counterparts to receive a job offer. Further, they find evidence of workforce segregation: when hired, Black teachers were significantly more likely to be placed in schools with large populations of children of color and children in poverty or schools characterized as struggling. The authors call for researchers, policy makers, and school leaders at the district and building levels to examine hiring practices, which may be symptomatic of broader institutional biases, so that they may identify and eliminate inherent prejudices.
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