Panel: Race and Teacher Labor Markets

Friday, November 9, 2018: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Johnson - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Constance Lindsay, Urban Institute
Discussants:  Anna Markowitz, University of Virginia and Katie Vinopal, The Ohio State University

Teacher Diversity in Decline? Evidence from Michigan’s Era of Economic Change and Policy Reform
Steven Drake, Jesse Nagel, Joshua Cowen and Katharine Strunk, Michigan State University

Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in the Labor Market for Child Care Teachers
Casey H. Boyd-Swan, Kent State University and Chris M. Herbst, Arizona State University

Taking Their First Steps: The Distribution of New Teachers into Classroom and School Contexts and Implications for Teacher Effectiveness and Growth
Sarah Rabovsky1, Paul Bruno1 and Katharine Strunk2, (1)University of Southern California, (2)Michigan State University

A large body of evidence shows that teacher quality is extremely important for children’s short-run development and long-run schooling and labor market success. Furthermore, a growing body of research suggests that the level of racial and ethnic diversity within the teacher workforce is related to a variety of positive outcomes, particularly for non-white students. Indeed, recent research indicates that exposure to demographically similar teachers has a positive impact on achievement, attainment, and disciplinary outcomes. Yet the non-white share of the U.S. teacher workforce continues to lag behind that of the children being served in most education settings.

This disconnect has given rise to a robust policy discussion focusing on the (i) causes of low minority teacher representation as well as (ii) effective approaches for increasing the share of non-white teachers. To advance this discussion, the proposed panel assembles four complementary papers, each of which casts new light on one or both of these issues.

The first paper, by Steve Drake and colleagues, asks whether teacher diversity in Michigan decreased between 2005 and 2016, during which the state altered collective bargaining, implemented a new teacher evaluation system, and increased the time to tenure. The authors’ primary find is that this constellation of factors corresponds to the loss of 46 percent of the state’s African American teachers between 2005 and 2011.

The panel’s second paper, by Jason Grissom and colleagues, studies the (extent of) teacher turnover as a potential explanation for the low representation of minority teachers. In particular, using administrative data from TN for the years 2006 to 2014, the authors first examine whether there are race-based teacher turnover gaps, followed by an analysis of the extent to which differences in evaluation scores accounts for any observed differences in turnover rates.

The next paper, by Casey Boyd-Swan and Chris Herbst, studies the influence of race/ethnicity in the labor market for center-based child care teachers. They initiate a resume audit study of child care providers, combined with a follow-up survey, to examine racial/ethnic differences in interview requests, the role of customer discrimination in hiring practices, and the impact of states’ child care regulations on the relative treatment of minority applicants.

The final paper, by Paul Bruno and colleagues, examines the trajectory of new teachers in Los Angeles, with a focus on how these individuals sort into schools/classrooms as well as whether structural characteristics of the educational settings—including the extent of homophily between teachers and their students or colleagues—on a variety of teacher outcomes.

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