Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: Exploring the Unintended Consequences of Accountability on Teacher Diversity

Thursday, November 12, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Constance A. Lindsay, American University
Increased interest in teacher accountability policies and effectiveness has been a hallmark of the modern education reform movement. Simultaneous to these efforts are trends in decreased teacher diversity (defined as the percentage black/percentage Hispanic teachers). The Center for American Progress detailed trends in decreased teacher diversity in a series of reports. Specifically, CAP identified teacher-student diversity gaps in all states, and outlined the severity of these gaps at the district level (Boser, 2014). This is particularly troubling for a host of reasons, including the relationship between minority students’ performance and having a minority teacher, the demographic imperative of having a representative teaching workforce, and the hiring/staffing realities that are seen in the highest need/hardest-to-staff schools. This problem is especially pronounced in many large urban school districts. In addition to the historical realities that have led to a loss of black (and to lesser extent Hispanic) teachers, current education reform efforts may exacerbate this loss.

Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to explore whether the observed trends in the decrease of teacher diversity are due to strengthened accountability measures, and in particular the implementation of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, which both contain significant provisions regarding teacher quality.    

We are presented with two points in time in which we can explore whether trends in teacher diversity are disrupted or changed by outside reforms.  We can use state by state variation in the strength of accountability policies to explore whether increased accountability impacts teacher diversity by using a difference-in-difference identification strategy.  This paper develops a teacher disproportionality measure (based on state demographic data) and uses the implementation of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top as exogenous policy changes.  The goal is to identify whether there are changes in representation, and then better understand the factors associated with any observed changes, particularly as they may or may not be related to accountability schemes.  There is state-by-state variation in the intensity of accountability as well as Race to the Top receipt.

Research Questions:

1)      What are the trends in the diversity of the teaching workforce at various levels?  

2)      Can using state differences in strength of accountability policies and implementation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Race to the Top (RTT) status help to explain observed patterns in the percentage of black and Hispanic teachers?

This paper analyzes data from a large-scale nationally representative survey of teachers, schools, and districts, the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). The SASS is a dataset provided by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) that provides a wealth of information on teacher demographics and school/ district characteristics.