Something is Very Wrong With Cleveland Charter Schools

A new study by the Shanker Institute looked at teacher diversity across a number of large cities, including Cleveland. Their results were broken down between the district and charter schools. What they found is very troubling.

Since 2000, while the share of black teachers in the district has remained constant over time, the teaching population in Cleveland's charter schools has been getting dramatically whiter.

In Cleveland public schools, at the end of our study, roughly 80 percent of students were Black or Hispanic, compared with under 30 percent of teachers. Between 2000 and 2011, the proportion of Blacks in the city’s teaching force declined modestly, while the (small) share of Hispanics remained stable. In terms of population shifts, the numbers of White, Black and Hispanic teachers all decreased, but the decline was considerably larger for Black teachers, with a loss of 1 in every 3 Black teachers. The racial and ethnic composition of new hires in district schools over these years generally increased diversity. Charter schools, in contrast, hired more teachers than district schools, but their hiring patterns had a negative impact on citywide teacher diversity. Concurrently, sector leaving patterns in district schools generally had little impact on teacher diversity either way, while charter school leavers were disproportionately Black, relative to their shares of the teacher workforce.

Here is the startling graph

What could possibly account for this? Why are Clevelands charter school teachers getting whiter? This seems like yet another serious administrative problem being exhibited by charter schools.