How race-related stress could be driving educators of color away from the job - Generocity Philly

Purpose

Apr. 13, 2021 10:04 am

How race-related stress could be driving educators of color away from the job

More than 75% of the teachers surveyed by guest columnist Ain Grooms reported a negative sense of belonging, especially when they thought school districts would not devise policies to actively address equity and racism.

Students of color – particularly Black and Latinx students – have been shown to achieve more academically when they have a teacher of color.

(Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels)

This guest column was written by Ain Grooms, assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of Iowa.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.


The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

When teachers of color experience high levels of race-based stress in schools, they can also have an increasingly negative sense of belonging, according to new research.

For the study, we analyzed survey data from educators of color across Iowa. To get at whether they were experiencing race-based stress, we asked whether the educators felt supported raising concerns with their peers about racism in schools or if they felt the need to ignore or avoid it. I conducted this research along with my colleagues — education researcher Duhita Mahatmya and community and behavioral health professor Eboneé Johnson.

From our Partners

Teachers reported less support from colleagues than did principals. Over 75% of the teachers in our sample (175 out of 229) reported a negative sense of belonging, especially when they thought school districts would not devise policies to actively address equity and racism.

Why it matters

Over half of U.S. public school students are students of color, but educator demographics do not mirror the student population.

In 2003, 17% of public school teachers and 18% of public school principals identified as persons of color. By 2017, those numbers had risen to only 21% of teachers and 22% of principals in public schools. Currently in Iowa, 3% of teachers and 4% of principals in public schools identify as people of color, as compared with 26% of students.

These workforce trends can be traced back to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public school segregation was unconstitutional. Following the ruling, tens of thousands of Black teachers and school administrators were either fired or demoted. White parents’ not wanting their children taught by Black teachers was among the reasons. Despite ongoing recruitment efforts, teachers of color still leave the profession at a rate almost 5% higher than their white peers.

When there are few or no educators of color in public schools, students of color have historically been more likely to experience low academic expectations and disproportionately high rates of discipline. Also, Black and Hispanic students are less likely to be enrolled in advanced placement or gifted courses.

Students of color — particularly Black and Hispanic students — have been shown to achieve more academically when they have a teacher of color.

Some scholars contend that educators of color experience “racial battle fatigue,” a term coined by education professor William A. Smith at the University of Utah. Racial battle fatigue describes the physical, emotional and psychological toll on people of color when they experience racism in predominantly white spaces.

In our study, we cannot definitively say that negative feelings that educators of color have about their school communities will cause them to leave the profession. However, we do suggest that race-based stress is a factor.

Stress has caused many educators to leave the profession, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. It will take more than just dedicated recruitment efforts to diversify the educator workforce and create inclusive schools. Retention strategies alone won’t be effective unless there are changes in the workplace environment itself.

What still isn’t known

In our study, we surveyed educators of color still working in Iowa schools. We don’t know how educators of color who have left the profession would have responded. Additionally, we don’t yet know the impact of the “triple pandemic” of COVID-19, racism and an economic recession on the stress levels of educators of color.

What’s next

We plan to take a closer look at how educators’ experiences differ by race and gender identity. This will help us better understand the diversity of experiences that exist within Black, Indigenous, Asian and Hispanic populations.The Conversation

-30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

From our Partners

Nurses are leaving the profession. Health care leaders need to address the reasons

Opinion: We have a duty to protect our children from spikes in RSV cases

Will having so many disasters happening at the same time affect donations? We asked an expert

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

On June 17, First Person Arts and EMOC launch a virtual event they hope will shatter misperceptions of men of color

401 N 3rd Street Philadelphia, PA 19123

Gift of Life Donor Program

Digital Media Specialist

Apply Now
Fairhill - Hartranft Neighborhood (North Philadelphia)

The Village of Arts and Humanities

Program Manager, Youth and Young Adult Programs

Apply Now
Fairhill - Hartranft Neighborhood (North Philadelphia)

The Village of Arts and Humanities

Senior Project Manager: Byrne Criminal Justice Project, Advancing Equity Through Public Safety

Apply Now

New survey: Black, Latinx and Asian American donors give more to social and racial justice causes

20 years post-9/11, the links between Islamophobia and Muslim American suicide remain unexplored

Career Builder: Forget the ladder. Build the career jungle gym

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Good food + good people + good cause = good times

Fairhill - Hartranft Neighborhood (North Philadelphia)

The Village of Arts and Humanities

Communications Specialist

Apply Now
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States

The Pew Charitable Trusts

Associate I, Philadelphia Research and Policy Initiative

Apply Now
Fairhill - Hartranft Neighborhood (North Philadelphia)

The Village of Arts and Humanities

Village Arts

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity