On January 20 the Boston Globe ran an article about the district’s hiring practices. Most specifically, the percentage of black teachers in the district has declined slowly but steadily over the last 25 years. Given that the district has had a very high turnover rate of staff estimated to have exceeded an average annual 10% rate for the last two decades, any goal on hiring ought to be relatively easy to accomplish.
Hiring is only one aspect of the teaching demographic, however. The undue termination of permanent teachers is another. Perhaps the district should reexamine how its disparate treatment of black, Hispanic, male, and older teachers has contributed to its inability to maintain a balanced and diversified teaching force.
The district also needs to do a better job of renewing the contracts of provisionals in a timely fashion, regardless of whether there is a specific vacancy for them. All too often a worthy provisional teacher is non-renewed because the position’s owner returns from an approved leave. The affected provisional ought to get a “system” Reasonable Assurance letter for placement elsewhere. Instead, the provisional — already trained and experienced — has traditionally been cast aside for a new hire.