Education reparation: an examination of Black teacher retention

Black K12 teachers leave the profession at faster rates than any other ethnic group. This exacerbates the disproportion of Black educators in the American teaching force. This study on the experiences of Black K12 teachers can inform the American school system of the workplace conditions that perpetuate their high turnover rates. The purpose of this study was to examine the workplace factors that positively and negatively impact Black K12 teacher retention. This study utilized a mixed-method approach to examine the qualitative and quantitative data. Qualitative data was collected through the interviews of ten Black K12 teachers in Northern California. The interview data was analyzed through open coding to identify existing and emerging themes. The findings confirmed existing research on Black teacher retention and found several common positive themes including: connections with Black/Brown students, advocacy for Black students. resistance, and Black teacher magic. The negative themes that were found included: administrative issues, overt/covert racism, professional barriers, cultural incongruity, and disenchantment. Quantitative data was generated from a 48 question Likert scale survey sent by email to Black teachers throughout the nation. An analysis of 98 teacher surveys found numerous positive and negative themes that impact Black teachers’ desire to remain in the field. The survey data was analyzed through a Multiple Regression to see which workplace factors, if any, predicted Black teacher retention. The quantitative data identified several workplace factors that have significant correlations with Black teacher retention including: Administrative Characteristics, Decision Making Influence, Racial Issues, Upward Mobility, Cultural Competency, Safety, and Resources. The regression found the workplace factor Administration Characteristics to be most influential predictor of Black teacher retention. K12 administrators who are liberatory, transformative, supportive, respectful, and culturally responsive are more likely to retain their Black teacher populations. On the other hand, too many K12 school administrators do not support Black teachers professionally and culturally. K12 administrators who are oppressive, unsupportive, and culturally incompetent are more likely to drive Black teachers out of their schools. Recommendations were made to inform the nation’s educational leaders of the federal, state, district, and school level transformations that can benefit Black K12 teacher retention.