Guidelines

I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.








Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hiring the Best, Most Qualified Candidates Regardless of Race is the Right Thing to Do, Part II


Recently the Escambia County School District has come under fire for not hiring enough administrative, professional, and instructional employees that are ethnic minorities.  Specifically, we’re being taken to task because the percentage of black employees does not mirror the percentage of blacks in our community and in our schools.
District administration wrings their hands and shrugs their shoulders at meetings-- and laments the fact that we don’t have more black employees.
I look at the situation differently, though.  If the goal is not to check boxes and meet quotas, but rather to hire the BEST candidates for students and taxpayers-then why does it matter if the percentage of certain employees does not match the percentage of certain students?  What difference does that make?
Pseudo-scientific anecdotes are being tossed around as facts in this district and are driving a push to hire more blacks to teach blacks—as this is somehow purported to improve performance of black students. 
But this whole idea seems quite backwards and I have multiple issues with this. 
Where are the studies that show that same-race students do better with same-race teachers?  The recent study I read from the University of Houston flatly contradicts this theory. 


Another research paper by the Hoover Institute from many years ago, in addition to being one of the driest reads in the history of mankind and also containing more disclaimers than a sky-diving liability release, was also a mixed bag on what any positive
impacts of same race teachers had on student achievement long term.
The thin volume of research on this topic appears murky at best. 
It is much more likely that the idea seems logical and so therefore it must be true!  A lot like saying spending more taxpayer money per pupil will make academic outcomes better (which is unproven) or saying spending $Billions to take classrooms from 30 students down to 25 will improve education—also an unproven ”solution”.  Sometimes things just seem right—so people fall in line and get behind these ideas.  Such appears to be the case with these statistical minority quota hiring proponents.
But supporting the concept of hiring same race minority teachers to improve minority student outcomes seems to fly in the face of the goal of achieving greater diversity, right?  I thought the goal was to achieve greater diversity?   And those that embrace the concept of greater diversity would recognize this disconnect--one would think?  
But no, increased diversity is set aside in this instance and under this circumstance, apparently.
What about this scenario-the three counties directly to our east are roughly 90% white each.  Those who espouse the same-race teacher is better theory, what would those of this mindset tell a black teacher seeking employment in one of those three mostly white counties?  It would seem that using their logic, a black teacher in what would be an invariably mostly-white classroom would not be as effective as a white teacher in that same setting—which we all know is absolutely false and is borderline ridiculous! 
So why would the opposite scenario, e.g., black teachers are better for black students, be true?
Answer:   It’s not true-it’s false.
A good teacher is a good teacher is a good teacher-- regardless of his color, race, creed or where he teaches!
I have said it in meetings before and I’ll say it again here—we should continue to strive to always hire the most well qualified employees that are available---REGARDLESS OF RACE.  I’m told this is currently what we do, and I would expect nothing less of this district going forward.

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