Mensah M. Dean, Philadelphia Daily News, June 25, 2009
While Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has promised to fire teachers who don’t make the grade, there is a group of educators that she is desperately seeking: African-Americans.
The School Reform Commission yesterday approved a request from Ackerman’s administration to spend $250,000 to hire the Florida-based consulting firm Gans, Gans & Associates to recruit up to 50 “qualified” African-American teachers for the 2009-10 school year.
Prior to the 4-0 vote, Ackerman and district talent development chief Estelle Matthews explained that the number of black teachers within the system dropped from 28 percent in September to 24 percent this month.
She added that initiatives also are underway to boost the number of Latino and Asian-American teachers.
Nearly 70 percent of the district’s 10,700 teachers are white, while Asian and Latino teachers together comprise about 5 percent of the teaching force, according to district data from April.
Of 984 teachers hired in September, 73 percent were white, 17.2 percent were black, the rest were Latino, Asian or other, the district data showed. Ackerman told the commission that 68 percent of the district’s students are black.