Black teachers pay ‘invisible tax’, report says

Black male teachers spend more time with students outside of class than other demographics, a reality that helps contribute to an “invisible tax” they pay because of their race.

These are the results of a survey by DonorsChoose, the nonprofit crowdfunding organization for public school teachers. DonorsChoose announced the findings in its report, “Unique Impacts, Unique Burdens: Insights into the Black Male Educator Experience.”

“Having more diverse teachers helps close both the achievement and opportunity gaps for students of color, and over the past two years, teachers of color have been through the toughest time having come through the pandemic. and racial reckoning in the country,” Sharif El-Mekki, CEO of the Center of Black Educator Development, said in a press release announcing the results.

Elementary school teacher helping student in class. (Credit: Adobe Stock Image)

“These results will help bring attention to some of the pressing needs of black teachers of color in our public school system.”

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The investigation revealed:

  • Black male teachers spend more than five hours a week mentoring or advising students, more than any other demographic group;
  • Black male teachers say they pay an “invisible tax” in which they do more work with black students. These teachers report that they are often asked to discipline black students and serve as school liaisons with families of color;
  • Black teachers entered the profession to affirm “the racial and ethnic identity of students of color.”

Former US Secretary of Education John King, who served in the Obama administration, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post discuss the impact of the “invisible tax” on teachers of color. But there is an acute impact on black male teachers who make up a disproportionate share of teachers in the country.

While black students make up 15% of the total public school population, black male teachers make up just 2% of educators, according to the report.

“When a student sees a teacher who looks like them standing in front of their class, it’s a powerful, life-changing experience,” David Banks, Chancellor of New York Schools, said in the statement.

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“A diverse workforce of educators supports both the academic and social growth of our students, and educators who are deeply rooted in the communities they serve often go above and beyond to support young people,” a- he added. “This survey confirms what we already know to be true about educators of color and we look forward to working with Donors Choose to increase the diversity of our workforce.”

Travis J. Bristol, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, welcomed the report.

“Understanding the school experiences of black teachers will allow policymakers and practitioners to (re)design schools that enable these teachers to teach and their students to learn,” said Bristol, a researcher on black men in the profession. teacher. .

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