For U.S. schools with a large African-American and Latino population, the teachers are drastically short-changed, according to the latest Department of Education data. Nationwide, the department’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) shows that these teachers are paid $2,500 less on average.
The analysis, the first of its kind to look at “fiscal equity at the school-to-school spending level” took data from 2,217 school districts that are racially diverse, out of nearly 7,000 U.S. school districts tapped for the survey.
For some education experts, the issue of equity in school districts with large minority populations is a reflection of the tax monies those local areas are capable of putting into teacher salaries. “It’s not surprising that schools in lower income communities have lower pay for teachers,” says Pedro Noguero education professor at New York University.
This is one of the first times the CRDC study, first conducted in 1968 has been looking at disparities in teacher pay. “Money matters,” says Noguero, whose research looks at equity in education. “It’s more about class than it is about race,” he says.
The education department’s Russlyn H. Ali, the assistant secretary for civil rights says the data puts the disparities in U.S. education into greater focus. “To repair our education system requires that we be able to identify where problems exist,” she says in the department press release. “Collecting these data and making them widely accessible is a powerful way to make the case for action.”
“Children who need the most too often get the least,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. “It’s a civil rights issue, and economic security issue and a moral issue.”
This year’s CRDC survey gathered from the 2009-2010 school year was released in two parts, with Part 1 coming out early this year in June and focusing on school enrollment data. The teacher pay data, along with other survey numbers, including bullying, will be fully released later this fall according to the department.