Rann Miller: The Invisible Tax on Black Teachers
In this op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Rann Miller talks about the extra burdens laid on Black teachers, and why they need to be addressed if we’re to address the issue of too few Black teachers in US classrooms.
Nationally, Black teachers only make up roughly 7% of all teachers; 1.6% of all teachers are Black men. The reason isn’t simply because Black teachers aren’t being hired. They’re also not being retained. Black teachers have one of the highest rates of turnover, and Black male teachers are leaving the teaching profession at a higher rate than their peers.
It’s because of the invisible tax on Black teachers. Black teachers are expected to be disciplinarians of Black children, have talks about the need to code-switch, and be experts on all things racism and diversity for Black students and white teachers.
In addition, districts often fail to offer adequate in-district support for Black teachers, and Black teachers are more likely to receive lower scores on their evaluations.
Thankfully, the efforts of institutions like the Center of Black Educator Development in Philadelphia and Rowan University’s Project Impact in Southern New Jersey are helping to both increase awareness of the need for Black teachers and increase the number of Black teachers in classrooms themselves. But what happens when Black teachers arrive to the classroom?
Will they be supported, or will they be taxed and leave, like I did?