Significant Pay Gap for Teachers in Schools Serving More Latino and African-American Students, According to New U.S. Department of Education Data

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Significant Pay Gap for Teachers in Schools Serving More Latino and African-American Students, According to New U.S. Department of Education Data

September 27, 2011

WASHINGTON – The Department of Education today released new data showing that in school districts around the country, teachers at schools with more Latino and African American enrollment are paid $2,500 less on average than teachers in the district as a whole.

Because teacher salaries comprise the bulk of school districts’ budgets, they are an important indicator of how districts allocate resources. And in 59 percent of diverse districts around the country, the Department found, teachers in schools serving more Latino and African American students are being paid significantly less than teachers in schools with fewer students of color.

The finding is drawn from a survey of nearly 7,000 school districts in the 2009-2010 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), the largest sample ever included in the CRDC. The analysis of teacher pay, (one of several new data categories in the 2009-2010 survey) comes from results reported from 2,217 diverse districts – those with greater than 20 percent and less than 80 percent Latino and African American enrollment.

“America has been battling inequity in education for decades but these data show that we cannot let up.” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “Children who need the most too often get the least. It's a civil rights issue, an economic security issue and a moral issue.”

Little research has been done to compare fiscal equity at the school-to-school spending level. The 2009-2010 CRDC collected data on school-level expenditures and teacher salaries, enabling a closer look at how resources are distributed between and within school districts.

Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights, said that the teacher pay data, along with other new categories included in the Civil Rights Data Collection, which will be released in full later this year, are a valuable tool.

“To repair our education system requires that we be able to identify where problems exist,” Ali said. “Collecting these data and making them widely accessible is a powerful way to make the case for action.”

The CRDC is being released in two parts this year. Part I, released in June, collected primarily enrollment data. Part II, to be released later this fall, collected cumulative and end-of-year data. Most of the student data are disaggregated by race /ethnicity, sex, disability (including additional disaggregation by Section 504 and IDEA status in some instances), and limited English proficient status.

The Part 2 data will thus highlight some of the most important civil rights issues facing our schools today. These data, many of which will be available at the school level for the first time anywhere, include;

  • Number of students who passed Algebra I in grades 7&8, 9&10, or 11&12
  • SAT or ACT test-taking during 2009-10 school year
  • FTE teachers absent more than 10 school days (excluding professional development) (not disaggregated)
  • In-school suspension
  • Separate categories for one and more than one out-of-school suspension (formerly reported as one category)
  • Zero-tolerance expulsion
  • Referral to law enforcement
  • School-related arrests
  • Harassment and bullying (students harassed as well as students disciplined, instances of harassment)
    • Separate reporting for harassment under Title VI, Title IX, and section 504/ADA
  • Restraint and seclusion (students and instances)
    • Mechanical restraint
    • Physical restraint
    • Seclusions
  • Retention (by grade)
  • School finance (aligned with ARRA collection)
    • Total personnel salaries
    • Total instructional-staff salaries
    • Teacher salaries
    • Non-personnel expenditures
State and national projections based on the sample data collected for the 2009-10 school year will also be made available before the end of this year.