Hiring Better Teachers May Be Racist, Say Bad Teachers


Edumacation is hard, one great scholar said. And he was probably right. But it’s not hard because Algebra is hard or because learning the names of all the state capitols is hard. It’s hard because a dysfunctional leftist educational bureaucracy that exists to…

1. Protect the right of incompetent teachers to teach

2. Promote political correctness

3. Steal as much money as possible

…makes it hard.

And so we come to the difficult question. Should schools hire better teachers or would that be racist? The answer is, Yes, No, Maybe, Probably, and I’m Going to Sue.

Slowly but surely, a growing number of states are eyeing policies to select academically stronger individuals for their teaching programs as one avenue to improve the quality of new teachers.

Academically stronger individuals is the politically correct way of saying, “Teachers who can both read and write.” Their counterparts are the Differently Academically Abled who dominate the Chicago school system.

Underneath the attention such plans are attracting, though, run deep-seated fears about their potential consequences–particularly whether they will result in a K-12 workforce with fewer black and Latino teachers.

On nearly all the measures states are considering, from GPAs to licensure-test scores, minority candidates tend to have weaker scores than their white counterparts.

Wait… but we support education… but not racism… but what if our support for getting better teachers for minority students leads to lower rates of minority teachers… it’s a racism paradox.

“When you’re working with instruments like SAT, ACT, GPA, which all have significant limitations, you have a responsibility to think about what the unintended consequences are,” said Mary Brabeck, the dean of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Mary, quite contrary, is talking about the consequences for teachers, not for students, because who really cares about them?

Proponents of the idea of raising teacher-preparation entry standards point to the practices of countries such as Finland, Singapore, and South Korea, which recruit superior academic candidates.

And all three countries are as multicultural as Seattle. No one is ever going to accuse a South Korean test of being racist.

The potential impact on candidates of color is more stark. Scores on the ACT from 2012 show that the mean score of African-American and Hispanic teachers, at 19 and 17, respectively, falls below the national mean score of 21, the score set as a goal in some proposals.

Basic-skills tests, such as those in the Educational Testing Services’ Praxis I series, also pose more challenges for some groups. According to ETS data collected from 2005 to 2009, black candidates scored about a standard deviation lower on such tests and Hispanic candidates by between a third and a half of a standard deviation lower.

Sorry South Korea, you win this one. Our teachers will go on enriching our diversity with their stupidity. Because having qualified teachers would have a disproportionate impact on unqualified teachers.

“Ratcheting up the bar will reduce the supply of minority teachers because of the general achievement gap that still leaves minorities with lower academic achievement–which is the problem we are trying to solve.”

So we can’t improve minority test scores without better teachers but we can’t get better teachers without higher standards and we can’t get better teachers because our school system is broken and we can’t fix our school system because we can’t get better teachers because that would be racist.

  • tanstaafl

    It's Catch-22!

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Charter schools, and school vouchers. Both are helpful.
      Dismantling the dept of education would be even more helpful. Local schools should return to local control.

      • guest

        Having had direct experience with a charter school, its antisemitic leadership, and education jihad, I would advise being very careful and thoroughly investigate the charter school scam. I don't know how they get away with getting taxpayer funds when they are set up to promote a religious message. Religious schools should be private and openly proclaim their intent…

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

          There have been abuses with muslim charter schools using tax funds for religious training.

          I expect something like that from them, they have no respect for our laws vs sharia.

          But that said charter schools have had a lot of successes. And it gives the parents more input than most public schools too.

        • Looking4Sanity

          You obviously do not grasp the Founder's intent that America remain a moral, as well as an educated, society. If we are not prepared to finance such a lofty goal as that, then we might as well close shop right now.

          Also…I am not aware of a single Founding Father who regarded Islam as a paragon of moral virtue. Unlike us, they saw it for what it was and shunned it…even declared war on it when necessary.

  • Jack Wisdom

    I hold degrees from UPenn and Harvard and was a Research Fellow at the London School of Economics. I was paid the same as teachers with much weaker credentials. Was that fair? In a way it was because the pay was high and the benefits good. In another sense, I was overeducated for the job. In another sense, why would anyone with high education credentials wish to work in so many schools where students HATE education? On the other hand, I had a lot to learn from teachers who were less academically gifted than I. In theory, I should have been paid more; yet, in practice, it worked out o.k. There are some real dummies teaching in high schools, but there are also a lot of very smart teachers who did not attend Ivy League schools. I'm writing about NYC. It might be different elsewhere. We need to think these issues through.

    • ziggy zoggy

      We all benefit from your wisdom.

    • Cat K

      Agree. Schools are basically union shops. There can be great, bright individuals who love to teach kids and there can also be slackers counting the days until their retirement – which is typically at a rather young age. Teachers and school "cultures" vary. The larger culture – has changed schools from places of learning to places where many progressive leftist teachers and curricula indoctrinate kids. That's the saddest part of who is teaching and what they teach.

  • tagalog

    Well yeah, in the progressive world hiring better teachers WOULD be racist.

    Obviously, some of those better-quality teachers would be teaching black pupils. Some of those black pupils would, therefore, be better educated than black pupils taught by bad teachers. That would make the two groups unequal.

    Sounds like a Fourteenth Amendment suspect classification to me. I even bet some smarty lawyer could put a disparate impact spin on it, a sure winner under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

  • figment

    it's not all the teachers.

    there's a culture of 'why bother' because if everyone gets a trophy for participating – why bother excelling?

    affirmative action ensures future employment to some degree, why bother excelling? why bother learning?

    there's always a few bad apples in the basket, seems that in the past couple decades, the bad apples spread their disease.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    The teachers are held captive by revolutionary union leadership, who in turn are beholden to Demsters in Washington & vice versa. But it is even more indidious than that, if you can imagine. For if not for the choke hold evinced by unrepentant domestic terrorist, Billy boy Ayers, and his compatriots, the situation would not be as it is. To be sure, one of their main weapons is the race bugaboo, chiefly to usher in a race war, whether in word or deed.

    This is who has been "teaching the teachers" for 30 + yrs – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/12/25/domestic-terr

    NOTHING goes down within America's (mis)educational system sans Ayers. Cause & effect.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • Looking4Sanity

      This cancer has been metastasizing for over 100 years, Adina. Even with aggressive and radical surgery, a full recovery will take a couple of generations at least. I don't think we have that much time left. The patient is at death's door as we speak…and drinking poison to boot!

  • truebearing

    But isn't it also racist to insist that hiring better teachers automatically means minorities will be replaced? It seems to me that minorities who want to make this argument are necessarily saying that some races aren't as smart as others. Are they employing theories that they previously attacked viciously as racist to defend their jobs? So now these incompetent buffoons are attacking racism from the rock solid foundation of racial stereotypes and bigotry….brilliant.

    • Looking4Sanity

      Somebody's been eating their smart pills!

  • Jim

    Why are the Finnish smarter than the Japanese?

    They hire the best educated teachers

  • amit

    There have been abuses with muslim charter schools using tax funds for religious training.

    I expect something like that from them, they have no respect for our laws vs sharia.

    But that said charter schools have had a lot of successes. And it gives the parents more input than most public schools too.

    Mobile Plans


    Time to put students AHEAD of the Teachers Union.

    Eliminate Tenure for teachers. Why should teachers be a protected class exempt from market pressures and fair evaluation?

    • Mark G

      So what do you consider "fair evaluation?" By the administrators? By the parents? By the students? By test scores? Tell me……I really want to know how, exactly, you propose to FAIRLY evaluate a teacher. This has nothing to do with tenure; it have everything to do with trying to put objectivity on that which is, by definition, subjective.

  • Looking4Sanity

    WOW! Who knew that racism led to better education?! I'd say that's a ringing endorsement of racism!

    Wait…what? Charges of racism by incompetent educators amount to nothing but impotent pleas for their own continued existence, you say? That almost makes them sound like self absorbed worthless leaches! We're going to have to examine this a little more closely, I think. Something isn't adding up here.

  • Mary Sue


    If hiring "good teachers" is "racist", doesn't that actually mean the people saying that "hiring good teachers is racist" ARE RACIST?! (setting aside for the moment the Identity Politics assertion that "nobody except white people can be racist")

  • gamma

    Eva Moskowitz understood what was wrong with the educaitonal system and started charter success schools. They outperform even the gifted schools and the first one was located in Harlem. People should listen to what she has to say. Videos of her are on youtube. Her success has made enemies out of those who want their check no matter how bad their teaching performance is and from unions who want ridiculous rules that make them money.

  • tagalog

    Speaking of racist, I heard on right-wing talk radio this morning (May 16, 2013) that a California public school district has prohibited suspension of willfully defiant students, claiming that, among other things, it has a disparate impact on black pupils.

    I guess they assume that black pupils are more defiant than other groups, eh? LIfe sure gets nuanced in the world of progressivism.

    • tough guy

      It is not just a state issue. There is pressure from the federal level to end the "disparate impact" of disciplining students. (Guess who disproportionately misbehaves.) There is also laws penalizing employers who discriminate against job applicants who have a criminal record. (Guess who….) We address symptoms rather than causes. Liberalism is the opiate of the morons.

      • tagalog

        Considering the part of your post where you mention laws prohibiting employers from discriminating against applicants with criminal records, I wonder if such laws open the door for lawsuits against judges and prosecutors who sentence and plea bargain based upon the record of the particular defendant's criminal convictions…

      • Micha Elyi

        Obviously, classroom disruption has a "disparate impact" on the white students.

        No matter what we do, it's "Racist!" to the race baiters.

        Meanwhile, the good people look past race to the content of the pupil's character. And the misbehaving characters get bounced out of the classroom. Problem solved.

  • Empress Trudy

    What the left wants, sadly is reinstatement of Plessy v Ferguson except all the white people are forbidden from going to school at all.

  • mals

    Teachers do not hire teachers, ADMINISTRATORS do! No one seems to be looking at these clowns.

  • Jay

    By minority you mostly mean black and latino. You may get academically stronger minority teachers but most likely they will be Asian minority which will not satisfy the PC crowd. They are the wrong minority – the ones that do well despite racism and income inequality.