A San Francisco school district is taking a different approach to narrowing the racial achievement gap by issuing a call for more Black schoolteachers.
The San Francisco Unified School District’s human capital specialist, Swen Ervin, told The Huffington Post that students of color respond better to teachers who look like them. According to district findings from the 2013-2014 school year, Black students, who make up 8 percent of the district, have among the lowest scores on standardized tests and the highest dropout rates.
“The research shows that students of color do better on standardized tests and have a stronger sense of self-efficacy when they have adults in their schools who look like them,” SFUSD alumnus Ervin said to the Post. “And I think teachers, more than anyone, provide an image of success for students.”
Hoping to tackle that problem sooner rather than later, the district hosted an informational event last week in order to attract potential Black teachers. More than 45 people attended the event, where they were able to meet with district officials, conduct informational interviews and apply for positions.
School administrators hope that hiring more teachers of color can also help dispel some of the stereotypes and prejudices that White students may have against Black people.
“Students right now are growing up in a particularly unique time in that they are exposed to so much more outside of what is taught to them at home and in school,” Wang Han, a school district alumnus, told the Post. “With our 24-hour media cycle and the Internet, students these days may hear about things like Ferguson, #BlackLivesMatter and other racially charged events independently and need someone well informed who they trust to help them make sense of and reconcile these events.”