Steven Sawchuck, posting on Edweek, writes:
Fifty-nine percent of the districts studied showed these spending disparities. And because teacher salaries make up about 60 percent or so of the typical district's budget, these data demonstrate some fairly hefty gaps in spending between schools that serve more students of color and those that serve fewer such students.Arne Duncan calls it, "a civil rights issue, an economic security issue, and a moral issue." But Duncan's own Race To The Top policies have reinforced these disparities by punishing schools and districts with high percentages of poor, black and Latino students. Current "performance pay" schemes, which tie teacher evaluations and pay bonuses to student test scores are also widening the pay gap.
On top of this, The Chicago Teachers Union charges that African-American teachers have been unfairly targeted by CPS layoffs. According to the union, while fewer than 30 percent of teachers in CPS are African-American, they represent more than 40 percent of those getting pink slips this year, either for budgetary reasons or because of enrollment declines.
CTU prez Karen Lewis, quoted in the Tribune, says the disparity of teachers being laid off from low-income neighborhoods represents a "disturbing trend" that has consequences for students who look to their teachers as "role models for achievement and success."
"With unemployment soaring in the black community, why is CPS exacerbating this crisis by getting rid of experienced and valuable educators in the first place?" Lewis asked.