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Race gap raises concerns about teacher hiring in Loudoun County

Loudoun County Public Schools student population is more diverse than it has ever been. Times-Mirror File Photo
As Loudoun County Public Schools' student population grows more diverse by the year, statistics showing the lack of diversity among LCPS teachers are concerning for some local residents.

The Loudoun chapter of the NAACP is calling into question teacher hiring practices in Loudoun County, saying they show statistical if not actual employment discrimination.

The latest racial breakdown of the licensed teacher force employed by Loudoun County Public Schools for 2016-2017 shows just over 87 percent of licensed teachers are white, 2.99 percent Asian, 3.70 percent Hispanic, 3.54 percent African-American, 2.29 percent Multi-Racial and 0.05 percent Pacific Islander.

Latest figures show the student population is more ethnically diverse than ever before. The number of white to minority students now stands at 50-50.

The NAACP says there's been little change in recent years when it comes to the racial profile of teachers in Loudoun County, despite growth in the number of minority students in the county. Figures from LCPS 2015-2016 show the student body was 52 percent white and 48 percent minority. Then, 88 percent LCPS licensed teachers were white, while 12 percent were classified as a minorities.

Phillip Thompson, president of Loudoun NAACP, told the Times-Mirror he is concerned about the hiring rate when it comes to employing teachers from minority groups.

Between Oct.1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2015, 75.8 percent of applicants for licensed positions in LCPS were white, and 19.4 percent classified themselves as from a minority group. Minority applicants were hired at a 8.32 percent rate while white teachers were hired at nearly double the rate of 15.8 percent.

“As you can see from the statistics, nearly 20 percent of the applicants are minorities. So they are getting applicants,” Thompson said. “It’s the hiring, if LCPS hired minorities at the 15 percent rate LCPS hires white teachers, that alone would begin to increase the number of minority teachers which over time would result in more of a balance.”

Recent studies suggest it's academically advantageous for minority students to be taught by minority teachers. A study for the IZA Institute of Economics looking at long-term records for more than 100,000 black elementary school students in North Carolina found having just one black teacher in third, fourth or fifth grade reduced low-income black boys' probability of dropping out of high school by 39 percent. The research was carried out by academics from U.C., American University and Johns Hopkins, who studied the effect on the children seven to ten years after their exposure to an elementary teacher of color. The researchers then cross-checked their findings by looking at schools in Tennessee, where they found black students assigned to black teachers graduated high school at higher rates and were more likely to take a college entrance exam.

Wayde Byard, Loudoun County Public Schools' public information officer, said the school system was making progress, particularly over the last year LCPS experienced a 4 percent increase in minority new teacher hires from 2016 to the 2017 school year, Byard said.

LCPS didn't hire a recruitment specialist until 2016 when a general recruiter and a diversity recruiter were brought on.

There's also a push for school leaders to take part in unconscious bias workshops. According to Byard, more than 500 principals, assistant principals and other leaders have already taken part with similar events planned for this summer.

Thompson, however, believes attitudes need to fundamentally change among school leaders.

“The real issue here are the individual school principals. They have the ultimate say on hiring at their schools,” Thompson said. “LCPS can recruit all of the minority leaders it wants, but, as long as the principals are allowed to commit statistical employment discrimination, they will never make any progress in increasing the minority teacher population. The emphasis, whether its training, encouragement, mandates or whatever has to be on the principals.”

Director of Human Resources and Talent Development Dr. Asia Jones said she's encouraged by the progress being made through “strategic efforts which include creative ways to reach candidates through social media and various recruitment events.” LCPS is also working with an external consulting firm, Montage Diversity consultants.

Jones added she appreciated the School Board's support in providing resources for its recruitment efforts.

Thompson remains skeptical current School Board members will bring about change.

“The only way this gets addressed in the near future is through the political process,” he said. “There are those on the School Board, led specifically by Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) and Debbie Rose (Algonkian), who do not believe one that there is a problem, and second that minority children are not impacted by not having minority teachers.”

Rose told the Times-Mirrror she had never stated or implied that minority children aren't impacted by not having minority teachers.

In a prepared statement, Turgeon refuted Thompson's remarks.

“I wholeheartedly supported our recruiters being trained in the hiring of a diverse teaching staff, as well as all staff being trained in practices (such as SIOP) to help address the needs faced by our minority student population,” Turgeon said. “Having worked several years directly with a significant number of minority students, specifically Hispanic students (our largest at-risk minority population), I am well aware of the challenges these students face. Accusatory statements from Mr. Thompson, stating that because the school board is 'all white' we lack understanding of issues facing our minority students shows that he is apparently more interested in making this a political issue rather than one based on facts and solutions.”

Thompson challenged Rose or Turgeon to produce a statement “where they have supported a real increased effort to recruit more minorities and force the principals to take a more active stance in hiring minority teachers.”

Comments


Certainly sounds like some folk(Chocolate) are suggesting that some sort of segregation may be the answer. White kid, learn better with white teachers.  Asian kids learn better with Asian teachers.  African American kids learn better with African American teachers.  What about the African Candian kids?


Chocolate is wrong on so many levels.  Let me start by challenging his premise that all minority teachers know all the minority students in the country so they should be able to motivate theym to become teachers and they they also know all the minorotiy,  qualified candidate to get them to apply here.  Choco is terrible wrong


Gee, I wonder why home-schooling is so popular?


Headlines Today:  Loudoun County Public Schools Misrepresents Details Of Lovettsville Bus Crash.  So if they can’t be truthful about something like this… .  Don’t even have to finish the sentence to make some of you look ________ do we.  Not going to say it, don’t want to get censored.  Lol P.T. Barnum’s theory alive and well in Loudoun County.


Most so-called African Americans are, more accurately, Afro-Euro Americans—the average of their continental origins about ⅔ African, ⅓ European.

Some Americans are acknowledging that because of multiple continental origins few Americans are literally black, most varying shades of brown—as coffee without or with cream.

In the 1960s African Americans introduced American culture to a new reality, “black is beautiful.”


If there were better minority teachers then there would be better minority teaching candidates.  The onus is on the existing minority teachers to inspire and motivate the up and coming generation to teach.  It’s pretty simple.


Hey cmckeonjr is your phrase for the week “European continental origins”?  You do realize that people of color can come from European continental origins or do you actually believe that everyone there is white.


Without reason reader Bird Turglr implies that the NAACP advocates that those who hire “ignore qualifications.”

Instead what the NAACP points out is that apparently, consciously or unconsciously, qualifications are not the only factor that affect those who decide whether to hire applicants.

Instead, apparently mere continental origins of applicants affect those who decide whether to hire, making the chances of hiring an applicant from European continental origins NEARLY TWICE AS LIKELY.


Apparently reader Brambleton Matt finds acceptable reader Buffacuse3 calling Phil Thompson “a race-baiting demagogue.”


Without reason reader MeetJohnDoe concludes that the “NAACP wants us to teach out kids that you should be hired by the way you look and think, not on merit and skills.”

Instead what the NAACP point out is that apparently “merit and skills” of an applicant are not the sole factors that affect THOSE WHO DECIDE WHETHER TO HIRE.

Instead apparently “the way [an applicant] looks” affects chances of hiring. Mere European continental origin of an applicant makes a decision to hire the applicant NEARLY TWICE AS LIKELY.


I love those people who assume that just because a person is hired, they were the best person, because we all KNOW, there is not racial bias in hiring in America.  Those hundreds of successful lawsuits on bias or discrimination never occurred “Alternative Facts” 

If the “white so they must be alright” crowd smell to forget one thing.  On one side there is statistical data proving a bias in hiring.  On the other side NO ONE has ever provided proof, whether empirically or directly that the people hired as teachers by LCPS had better resumes, backgrounds and experiences than those who were not hired. 

So if you going to “take” the Government’s word that it is hiring the best, then take their word on everything else like taxes; if not, then you are just showing your rank bias.  Be consistent or be quiet.


NAACP wants us to teach out kids that you should be hired by the way you look and think, not on merit and skills. If NAACP wants more diversity, maybe they should spend their money and time providing job training and recruitment.


I do not care what the RACE, RELIGION is.  AS a Teacher ARE THEY QUALIFIED to provide a full and balanced education. Do they want to help and make a difference in Loudoun County Students LIVES. Stop the “STUFF” and think about what is best for the Students


If more of the white candidates would realize that they may in some form or fashion be a minority candidate then this wouldn’t even be talked about.  A friend of a friend of a friend recently took a DNA test and discovered that she is African and South American yet identifies as white.  This is wrong and we all need to stay humble and embrace our heritage - not deny.  And it should be noted that ketchup is a fruit sauce yet is not appropriate for ice cream.  Kind of the same thing.


Another manufactured “crisis”.


This is another case of America’s current identity crisis.  “What does it mean to be an American” answer is now divided along political lines, just like so many other issues in our country.  And, this specific issue appears to be a hot button for LC, just based on the number of replies and differences of opinion.  I lean with the America as a country of freedoms, including race, religion, etc..  The idea of a white male european culture only for America is really not the facts of history and what our nation principles are founded.  Who would that serve if we go down the path?  Regarding this issue, kids need exposure to the diverse cultures in order to understand our history, and what opportunities they have as an American citizen.  Most countries in the world are becoming more diverse, but we have a big jump start on them, so let’s use it to our advantage. To solve this issue, is much more than a simple math equation.  The caveat is no matter your culture, as an American citizen, you are an American first.  Not european-american, african-american, hispanic-american, christian-american, muslim-american, but an American-..... who understands and appreciates diversity as a strength.  The younger a person can learn this the better we are as a country.


Please join me in reporting “cmckeonjr.” Since when is it acceptable to call people bigots for simply voicing their opinion?!  Any claim that we are a bunch or “racists” or “bigots” here in Loudoun County is quite frankly ABSURDITY!


Can we also make sure the male/female ratios match and just ignore qualifications?


Let me point out a couple of issues:

First, Lawman has previously made his view quite explicit that this isn’t about providing the best teacher for the children, it’s about providing opportunities for minority candidates of color.  I completely disagree.  Schools don’t exist to employ teachers.  Schools exist to effectively educate students, period.

Having said that, there is quite a bit of scientific research that shows black students benefit from having exposure to black teachers in school.  This not only includes academic performance but discipline as well.  Studies have shown that white teachers are less likely to accept excuses for absences or missed assignments from black students as white students.  And fewer black students are identified as gifted (after accounting for aptitude) when the teachers are all white.  There are exercises that schools can conduct to minimize these differences.

Does that mean that black teachers are generally better?  No.  This increased performance is not seen in VAMs or for other student races.  But one can make a case that it’s in the interest of our black and Hispanic kids to hire some additional teachers of those backgrounds even if the quality dips a little bit.  Of course, I advocate using objective measures (like they did in the research cited above) to measure the quality of teachers such as value-added metrics.  But the school board will have no part of objective anything.

Teaching is about more than subject knowledge.  Being able to communicate and relate to students is key.  The research findings above suggest teachers of the same race can often communicate more effectively to those students.  The phenomenon does not appear to occur for Asian students who Lawman inappropriately uses to boost the % of “minority” students.

It’s an important topic.  Sounds like there should be more public discussion but that might require the school board to engage in discussion (back and forth) with the public.  Not much chance of that happening.


For the sake of other readers—who otherwise may be taken in by reader Buffacuse3’s misapplication of arithmetic:

Applicants from European continental origins:

75% of applicants
15% hired
15% of 75% = 11.25% of applicants were both (a) from European continental origins and (b) hired

Applicants from other continental origins:

19.4% of applicants
8.32% hired
8.32% of 19.4% = 1.6% of applicants were both (a) from non-European continental origins and (b) hired

Remainder (whose continental origins are unidentified in the report):

5.6% (who are not discussed further)

Hired (but for those whose continental origins are unidentified in the report):

11.25% + 1.6% = 12.85% of applicants were hired

11.25%/12.85% = 87.5% of hired applicants were from European continental origins—despite applicants from European continental origins constituting only 75% of applicants

1.6%/12.85% = 12.5% of hired applicants were from other continental origins—despite applicants from other continental origins constituting 19.4% of applicants


LCPS didn’t hire a recruitment specialist until 2016 when a general recruiter and a diversity recruiter were brought on.

Loudoun County Public Schools employs a “diversity recruiter”? Oh brother. Just what I need to hear, right before property taxes come due.


Hire the best teachers.  It is that simple. The substitute teacher pool is fully diverse and all we hear from our kids is how horrible some of the subs are.


I’m confident that we can find idiots of every race to teach our children.


Without reason reader Loudoun4Trump presumes “Mr. Thompson has little use for the quality of the teacher” and “would rather just focus on the skin color of the candidate.”

Hiring of candidates from European continental origins at “nearly double the rate” of candidates from other continental origins suggests that something more than “quality of the teacher” affects the decisions of THOSE WHO DECIDE WHO TO HIRE—not Phil Thompson —as the evidence suggests that, consciously or unconsciously, mere European continental origin makes the likelihood of a decision to hire nearly TWICE AS LIKELY.


Most of the commenters here have no clue about employment law.  The statistics present a disparity, now, there may be a reason for such a disparity, quality of applicants, positons open, whatever.  But once the prima facie case is proven by the statistics, then its up to the employer to defend its position.  Lets hope a crafty lawyer or the ACLU decides to move forward with this evidence, the School System’s own evidence, and sue for racial discrimination. 

For those persons who lamely try to raise the quality of education issue, first, they obvious did not read the part about minority children who make up 50% of the children benefiting from having “some” minority teachers.  So their arguments seem more are simply to be the usual vailed white supremacy based arguments that in the inverse relies on an only white teachers can provide a quality education.  However, putting the racial element of that argument aside, in the end this is not a education issue, this is an employment discrimination issue. 

So continue to give them Hell NAACP, because just like with the recent decision to name a school after a long forgotten Black community, Willard, if the NAACP had not brought up the racial aspect in opposing the School Board’s decision to name a school after a racist two years ago, it is quite doubtful that Willard would have been a chosen as the new name of a LCPS name in 2017.

In order to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs, and sometimes some heads, ego’s, misconceptions, walls and white supremacist’s hearts.


Buffacuse3—don’t confuse people with math!


Reader David Dickinson disregards that the RATE of hiring of those from European continental origins is “NEARLY DOUBLE” the rate of hiring of those from other continental origins.


Reader Loudoun4Trump draws the unfounded conclusion—with no reason—that “Mr. Thompson has little use for the quality of the teacher,” rather than the conclusion that the evidence supports, which instead is that what affects those who decide who to hire is something more than “quality of the teacher” solely, since the rate of hiring of those from European continental origins is “NEARLY DOUBLE’ the rate of hiring of those from other continental origins.


Reader Buffacuse3 would do well to read the words of the report:

Minority applicants were hired at a 8.32 percent RATE while white teachers were hired at nearly double the RATE of 15.8 percent.

That most readers would consider that reader Buffacuse3’s comment evidences bigotry is understandable.


LCPS hires the most qualified teachers, not ones which satisfy the NAACP’s skin color test.

If the NAACP is aware of quality teachers that should be hired by LCPS, maybe it should tell those teachers to send in their resumes.

I’ve yet to hear of LCPS not hiring non-white teachers as part of some deliberate act which would justify the NAACP getting bet out of shape over.


Yawn…another slow news day


I guess Mr. Thompson has little use for the quality of the teacher, but would rather just focus on the skin color of the candidate….So much for getting a job based on merit….excellent points Buff, there is no racism in hiring, just another wolf cry to stir up the angry liberals…looking for ways to cut school spending, start with this one “unconscious bias workshops” ...


Very interesting labels which seem to be more about lobbying for hiring advantages than fact. What percent of a person’s heredity should determine which label they fall into? Should a person whose family has been in the USA for 50 years and speaks English at home have a hiring advantage over someone who has only been in the USA for one year with English as their second or third language no matter where there family came from? If mentoring is critical to strengthening teacher capabilities then why doesn’t LCPS balance its experience among all the schools? Is a family which immigrated to the USA 50 years ago from Spain hispanic or white? Do they deserve a better weighting for a job because of the hispanic label even if the teacher doesn’t even speak Spanish? What advantage if any should a potential teacher have who has been in the USA for 20 years, speaks perfect English and hails 20% from Kenya, 30% from Kuwait, 30% from Portugal and 20% from Ireland? Should we judge by melanin level testing or just take whatever they put on the application as gospel? After 8 years on the school board this topic remains highly challenging especially with many more applicants for positions than needed. Nobody mentioned the percent of new teachers who hail from Loudoun no matter what their cultural legacy is. How many school board members and employees have children getting jobs in LCPS? Let’s actually define the problem that needs to be solved starting with allowing parents to provide performance input so LCPS can honestly claim to have the best teachers anywhere FIRST and then include teachers in the hiring process into a talent balanced system of schools all offering equal quality including allowing the AOS program to go countywide! Let’s do real things that actually help LCPS and help the students we always hear are our ultimate priority.
Bob O__ Esq.


Uh, Mr. Thompson…

75% of applicants classified themselves as white, while 15% were hired…that’s a rate of 1 in 5 or about 20%;

19% of applicants classified themselves as minorities, and about 8% were hired—they were hired at a rate of about 1 in every 2.5, or about 42% of applicants.

Therefore, sir, minority candidates were hired at nearly double the rate of white candidates…indicating to everyone but a race-baiting demagogue like yourself that in fact LCPS is going out of its way to hire as many minority candidates as it possibly can.  In fact, with numbers like that, you could even make a case it is engaging in reverse discrimination.

I look forward to your help in pressing the reverse discrimination case, Mr. Thompson.


Reader LoudounResident010’s comment itself evidences bigotry.


The NAACP presents a prima facie case for discrimination.


This is a false comparison.  What are the ages of the teachers compared to the student body?  The ethnic distribution of teachers is going to match the ethnic distribution of the student body decades ago (when the teachers were in school getting degrees).


Another desperate (pathetic) attempt by the NAACP to become relevant in Loudoun.

But I feel for them, its probably tough to be a race huckster in an area with so little actual racism.

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