Hiring rule hampers diversity among teachers, says Ontario Education Minister

Classic challenge between competing objectives, experiences and diversity. Experience should not be used as a proxy for merit or suitability :

A regulation that forces boards to hire the most experienced supply teacher for full-time jobs — rather than the best fit — hinders efforts to bring in educators from more diverse backgrounds in schools, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said after hearing from parents in Peel who are concerned about racism in the board.

“What is really the challenge that impedes the ability of boards to make decisions based on merit or equity is Regulation 274, which creates some impediments to hiring talented educators based on their qualifications,” Lecce told the Star in an interview Monday.

He said the rule “eliminates the ability of boards to find, to choose, merited candidates that happen to be (diverse) or of specific backgrounds to better reflect the communities they represent. Their advice to me was to very seriously look at removing those impediments and I committed to them to doing so.”

Lecce has sent in two troubleshooters to probe complaints of anti-Black racism at the Peel District School Board, and last week personally met with families.

The issue, however, is one provincial negotiators will raise during the current round of talks with teacher unions, who support Regulation 274. It was originally implemented to curb nepotism, a huge concern for the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, OECTA.

OECTA declined to comment on the regulation, saying it is a matter for the bargaining table.

The hiring rule was brought in by the former Liberal government during contract negotiations in 2012 with OECTA, requiring principals to hire from among the five most qualified senior candidates in the supply pool for long-term and permanent jobs.

The regulation was later extended to cover all other school boards in Ontario over the objections of the boards themselves, as well as directors of education and deans of Ontario’s faculties of education.

Teachers have also complained that they lose seniority if they move to another board.

By 2013, even then-premier Kathleen Wynne admitted the regulation was an “overcorrection” and said her government would work to “get it right” during the next round of contract talks, though no changes were made.

Then, last April, Lecce’s predecessor Lisa Thompson called the regulation was “outdated” and that the government would address it because it “rewarded teachers based on seniority and did not recognize teachers who were excelling at their jobs.”

Lecce said changing the regulation “will have implications at the bargaining table, but I made commitments to understand the problem and work in good faith with all the parties, given this is about student success,” he said.

“ … The point really is taken that if you are not able to have a mechanism to draw upon talented people from various visible minority communities and racialized communities then we don’t do justice to our kids from those communities,” Lecce also said.

Earlier this year, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario said a 2014 provincial report allayed concerns about the regulation and found that boards were not hiring unqualified candidates, nor was it preventing more diverse candidates from getting jobs, though boards and principals disagree.

Unions have, however, said they are willing to look at the lack of mobility to switch boards that Regulation 274 has created.

Source: Hiring rule hampers diversity among teachers, says Ontario Education Minister

Black male educators sound diversity alarm | New Orleans’ Multicultural News Source

Some interesting research. If I recall correctly, there is overall under-representation of males in education, particularly at the primary level:

A diverse and inclusive education workforce can play a critical role in ensuring that students receive a robust, quality educational experience. While students of color comprise more than half of P-12 classroom populations in the United States, overcoming the shortage of educators of color has been a decades-long dilemma for U.S. schools.

The shortage is especially alarming among Black male educators, who represent less than two percent of the total teaching population. Their recruitment continues to be a critical topic in educational reform, but studies on the factors contributing to the shortage remain scarce. As a result, there has been little improvement in attracting and retaining Black male educators.

To uncover factors affecting the shortage of Black male teachers, researchers from University of Phoenix Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research (UOPX) – in partnership with the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) – examined the current status of Black male educators in the nation’s classrooms.

The exploration highlighted insights of fellows of the 2018 cohort of NNSTOY Outstanding Black Male Educators. Their reflective quotes and personal narratives were published in a joint white paper titled “Having Our Say: Examining Career Trajectories of Black Male Educators in P-12 Education.”

Three areas of focus were spotlighted as potential solutions to the shortage: improved recruitment efforts, greater representation in teacher preparation programs and enriched experiences in school settings.

“With limited insight into the factors affecting Black male educators in P-12 education, the voices of the NNSTOY fellows served as the ‘coal miner’s canary’ – calling attention to the challenges experienced within the career trajectory of many Black male educators at every phase,” said Dr. Kimberly Underwood, University of Phoenix research chair and lead author of the paper.

“While this paper will help identify potential solutions, we must continue to champion efforts to create sustainable actions to diversify the teaching profession and improve recruitment and retention efforts.”

As highlighted in the paper, various studies suggest that the lack of Black male educators has negative implications for all students, both culturally and academically.

In their absence, students lose access to valuable insights and perspectives that can dramatically decrease bias and prejudice. Additionally, direct results can be seen among the benefits to students of color, which include lower dropout rates, a more positive view of schooling, fewer disciplinary issues and better test scores.

To develop a strategic approach to the issue, the UOPX and NNSTOY team will build off the voices of the fellows and conduct research to examine socialization experiences of Black male educators, including the root cause of the attrition.

Source: Black male educators sound diversity alarm | New Orleans’ Multicultural News Source

Laïcité: des professeurs se posent en censeurs

Group think without allowing for discussion of other perspectives. And it should be possible to have respectful discussion of different perspectives:

À quelques semaines du dépôt probable d’un projet de loi sur les signes religieux, la laïcité reste un sujet « explosif » qui divise profondément les enseignants. La professeure Nadia El-Mabrouk, bien connue pour son opposition au port de signes religieux, a été bannie d’un colloque syndical auquel elle avait pourtant été invitée à livrer son point de vue.

Selon ce que Le Devoir a appris, la direction de l’Alliance des professeures et professeurs de Montréal a annulé l’invitation faite à Mme El-Mabrouk après l’éclatement d’une controverse chez les enseignants. La simple présence prévue de la professeure de l’Université de Montréal au colloque de l’Alliance a provoqué un « malaise » au sein de la profession, et même des « commentaires violents » dans un groupe de discussion Facebook.

L’assemblée des délégués du syndicat a voté à la majorité l’annulation de la conférence de Nadia El-Mabrouk sur la laïcité au colloque de l’Alliance, prévu les 18 et 19 février 2019. La professeure a aussi été bannie d’une table ronde sur le féminisme où elle devait prendre part avec la journaliste Pascale Navarro.

Ce colloque, qui célébrera le 100e anniversaire de l’Alliance des professeurs, doit regrouper une quarantaine de conférenciers de renom, dont Françoise David et le Dr Jean-François Chicoine. Ils aborderont une série de thèmes plutôt consensuels, comme l’école de demain, la gestion de classe, les jeux vidéo, le déficit d’attention, et ainsi de suite.

Les deux événements auxquels devait participer Nadia El-Mabrouk ont cependant mis le feu aux poudres. Cette expulsion de la conférencière sur fond de désaccord idéologique soulève la grogne au sein de l’Alliance. Des enseignants dénoncent cette « censure » digne des curés du siècle dernier. D’autres se réjouissent de ne pas être exposés à des idées contraires aux positions officielles du syndicat.

Des sujets « assez sensibles »

« Je vous écris pour vous faire part du malaise que certains profs ont ressenti en recevant le programme du colloque, hier matin, dans leur milieu. En effet, dans le résumé de votre conférence, il est question de sujets assez sensibles chez les profs ; port de signes religieux, cours d’ECR [éthique et culture religieuse], cours à la sexualité, bref, tout cela est assez explosif en ce moment. Nous n’avions évidemment pas prévu que la CAQ serait portée au pouvoir au moment où nous vous avons demandé votre intérêt à participer à ce colloque », indique l’Alliance dans un courriel à Nadia El-Mabrouk daté du 11 décembre 2018.

La présence de la professeure au colloque a été annulée le soir même par l’assemblée des délégués. Le conseil d’administration du syndicat s’est plié à la décision des délégués, même s’il avait recommandé de maintenir la conférence et la table ronde où Nadia El-Mabrouk était invitée.

« Le conseil d’administration a expliqué que cette personne-là avait été choisie même si elle n’avait pas nécessairement les mêmes opinions et orientations que notre organisation syndicale », explique Catherine Renaud, présidente de l’Alliance.

« On n’est pas toujours obligés d’entendre des gens qui pensent comme nous. Ça permet d’échanger et de faire progresser notre réflexion, ajoute-t-elle. On n’a jamais l’unanimité sur des sujets comme ça qui sont polarisants. Il y a des pour et des contre, et pour certains, c’est viscéral. Ce n’est pas différent de ce que pense la population de ces enjeux-là. »

Les syndicats d’enseignants, dont l’Alliance, s’opposent officiellement à l’interdiction du port de signes religieux que le gouvernement Legault a promis d’étendre à la profession enseignante. « On ne veut surtout pas que ces personnes-là soient congédiées non plus », précise Catherine Renaud.

« Censure » syndicale

Luc Charlebois, enseignant de francisation à l’école secondaire Louis-Riel, dans l’est de Montréal, est fâché. Il s’insurge contre ce qu’il considère comme de la « censure ». « La proposition [de retirer l’invitation à la professeure El-Mabrouk] a été amenée sur le plancher à la dernière minute, sans consultation des membres. Il y a un gros problème de démocratie syndicale », dit-il.

La professeure a été officiellement mise au ban à cause de ses positions sur l’identité des genres. Dans une chronique dans La Presse +, elle a déjà dit craindre que les cours d’éducation à la sexualité enseignent « l’idéologie queer ». Elle estime que ce phénomène devient une véritable « religion ». Elle déplore que cette seule mise en garde lui vaille d’être traitée de transphobe.

« Une accusation de transphobie, c’est une attaque à ma réputation. Ces gens n’ont sûrement pas lu mes articles », dit Nadia El-Mabrouk au Devoir.

« La vérité, c’est qu’on me censure. Si ma vie n’est pas en danger en allant au colloque, il n’y a pas de problème à ce que j’y sois. Il y a un débat sur la laïcité qui s’en vient [avec le dépôt promis du projet de loi du gouvernement Legault], et là, on est en train de faire de l’intimidation. Les gens n’osent pas s’exprimer sur les signes religieux par crainte d’être taxés de racisme », dit la professeure d’informatique.

Source: Laïcité: des professeurs se posent en censeurs

Study Finds Students Of All Races Prefer Teachers Of Color

Interesting and unexpected:

During the time that Cherng, who is of Chinese descent, taught in an 85 percent African-American middle school in San Francisco, he enjoyed a good rapport with his students, and he wondered what role his own identity played in that.

Now Cherng is a sociologist at New York University and he’s just published a paperwith colleague Peter Halpin that addresses this question. It seems that students of all races — white, black, Latino, and Asian — have more positive perceptions of their black and Latino teachers than they do of their white teachers.

Cherng and Halpin analyzed data from the Measure of Effective Teaching study sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which also supports coverage of education at NPR.

They looked at a group of 1,700 sixth- through ninth-grade teachers from more than 300 schools in cities around the country. The students had completed 30-question surveys, asking about a variety of different dimensions of teaching.

For example:

  • How much does this teacher challenge his students?
  • How supportive is she?
  • How well does he manage the classroom?
  • How captivating does she make the subject?

Although NPR Ed has reported before on the pitfalls of student evaluations used in many undergraduate classrooms, this particular student self-report measure may be more valid because of its thoroughness; it’s been independently linked to student learning gains on standardized tests.

Cherng and Halpin found that all the students, including white students, had significantly more favorable perceptions of Latino versus white teachers across the board, and had significantly more favorable perceptions of black versus white teachers on at least two or three of seven categories in the survey.

The strongest positive relationship was the flipside of what Cherng experienced in his own classroom: Asian-American students had very rosy views of their black teachers.

The relationship persisted after controlling for students’ age, gender, their free and reduced-price lunch status and their academic performance. The researchers also controlled for other factors like the teacher’s level of experience and education, their gender, and even outside expert ratings of the teachers’ effectiveness, based on classroom observations.

No matter what, students had warmer perceptions of their teachers of color.

Cherng calls the findings “surprising.”

“I thought student awareness of the racial hierarchy would influence the results,” in favor of whites, he says.

Other studies have found evidence for “race matching,” or the idea that students and teachers of the same race or ethnicity perceive each other more favorably. And NPR Ed recently covered research on “implicit bias,” the idea that teachers of all races look less favorably on students of color.

“We’re not done,” investigating this finding, Cherng says.

His working theory is that teachers of color score more highly because of their ability to draw on their own experiences to address issues of race and gender, which, he says, can be highly germane even to teaching subjects like math, especially in America’s majority-minority public schools. He’s currently working on a series of studies that look at preservice teachers and teacher training, to provide more evidence about the relationship between teachers’ multicultural beliefs and awareness and their effectiveness in the classroom.

As a math teacher, and now a sociology professor, Cherng was never prepared to really understand or address race or gender dynamics in the classroom. But, he says, there may be good evidence that these are essential tools to being a good teacher, period.

Source: Study Finds Students Of All Races Prefer Teachers Of Color

Black teachers still face racism on the job in Ontario

Interesting study. According the National Household Survey data, black teachers form XX percent in Ontario schools:

Many black teachers across Ontario still face racism on the job, according to a new  study of educators, half of whom said they believe being black has hurt their chance of promotion. Some told of hearing the ‘N’ word used in the staff room and being mistaken for a trespasser.

“I had a supply teacher tell me I am not allowed to park my car in staff parking,” said one of the 148 black educators across 12 Ontario school boards surveyed for a report to be released Friday. “The ‘N’ word was used in casual conversation in our staff room,” said another. “I was introduced as ‘home girl’ to a student teacher.”

The 63-page report, The Voices of Ontario Black Educators, prepared for the Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators (ONABSE), calls for Ontario to enact tough employment equity legislation, provide training against anti-black bias, set targets for promoting teachers of colour and cluster black teachers in particular in schools where there are high numbers of black students.

“We’re disappointed, but not surprised at the findings — racism is still deeply ingrained in society,” said Warren Salmon, interim president of ONABSE, which commissioned the report because of concerns expressed by its members.

Of the black teachers, principals and vice-principals surveyed, one-third said they believe they have been passed over for advancement because they are black. Some 27 per cent said racial discrimination by colleagues affects their day-to-day work life and 51 per cent said they believe anti-black bias at their school board affects who gets promoted.

Equity consultant Tana Turner of Turner Consultants conducted the survey, and called for school boards to “set equity goals and timetables — not just have an employment equity office which merely measures the numbers of employees …

“If the government wants to close the gap in racial diversity between students and those at the front of the classroom,” she said, “legislation and other government interventions may be needed.”

Black teachers still face racism on the job in Ontario | Toronto Star.

Ontario’s Teacher Diversity Gap

Interesting study on the gap between visible minority representation among teachers and the student population in Ontario and Toronto, including comparisons with the USA:

  • The demographic divide between teachers and students in Ontario and the Toronto CMA is large. In Ontario, racial minorities represent 26% of the population, yet make up only 10% of the 70,520 secondary school teachers and 9% of the 117,905 elementary school and kindergarten teachers. In the Toronto CMA, racial minorities represent 47% of the population, yet make up 20% of secondary school teachers and 18% of elementary school and kindergarten teachers.
  • The Teacher Diversity Gap is worse in Ontario and the Toronto CMA than for the United States overall. While Ontario and the Toronto CMA are doing a slightly better job of reflecting the diversity of the student population than states such as Ohio, we are also doing worse than other states, including New York, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. The Teacher Diversity Gap for the United States as a whole is slightly smaller than the gap for Ontario and the Toronto CMA.
  • The Teacher Diversity Gap is no better for the Toronto CMA than it is for Ontario. The Teacher Diversity Gap in the Toronto CMA is .40, while the gap for Ontario is .38. This means that the demographic divide between teachers and students is just about the same for students in the Toronto CMA as it is for students in the rest of the province.
  • The gap could get worse as the population becomes more diverse. While we currently face a large Teacher Diversity Gap, the province is rapidly becoming more diverse. Statistics Canada data shows that racial minorities currently represent 26% of the Ontario population and 47% of the Toronto CMA population. Statistics Canada projects that by 2031 racial minorities could make up 63% of the Toronto CMA population. As such, without significant changes to the composition of the teaching population, the Teacher Diversity Gap may widen.

Previous  employment equity reporting provided much more detail (e.g, 2006 reports cited) compared to today’s high level overview limited to the Canadian public service and federally regulated sectors (banking, communications, transportation).

Combination of budget cuts and change in government priorities.

Ontarios Teacher Diversity Gap – TURNER CONSULTING GROUP INC..

Charte des valeurs – Conflit en vue entre Québec et les enseignants | Le Devoir

Some interesting comment on the potential impact on education of the proposed Charter of values, starting with the teachers, who favour laïcité  ouverte, and respect for their members:

Selon lui, l’État ne doit pas interdire le port de vêtements ou d’accessoires à connotation religieuse ou culturelle, car c’est le droit au travail qui est en jeu. « On considère qu’il est normal qu’un enseignant ou une enseignante porte la kippa juive, porte la croix ou le hidjab », a-t-il dit lors d’une conférence de presse où la FAE a dévoilé ses positions adoptées à son congrès de juin. « Peut-on convertir les élèves du simple fait de porter une croix dans le cou ? On pense que non. »

Charte des valeurs – Conflit en vue entre Québec et les enseignants | Le Devoir.

And in English, the Fédération autonome d’enseignement — which represents about 32,000 teachers, or a third of teachers in Quebec, notes the real issue is public financing of private religious schools, not the wearing of religious signs (and Ontario rejected that approach in a provincial election a number of years ago):

If Quebec really wants to secularize education, it should stop funding religious schools, union says