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Maryland's teacher workforce is predominantly white. The Blueprint plan aims to diversify

Lilly Price, Baltimore Sun on

Published in News & Features

BALTIMORE — Racial gaps persist between Maryland students and teachers as the workforce continues to be predominantly white, according to demographic data presented at a Maryland State Board of Education meeting Tuesday.

State education officials are prioritizing retaining a highly qualified and diverse workforce as a part of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, the state’s education reform plan that infuses billions of dollars into public education. More than 63,200 teachers were employed as of October 2023, the most recent data available. More than two-thirds of teachers were white.

The number of Black and Hispanic or Latino teachers have slightly increased over the past five years, but rates remain at 20.4% and 4.7%, respectively. Meanwhile, the gap between the percentage of students of color and the percentage of teachers of color statewide is 36 percentage points.

All school districts must increase starting teacher salaries to $60,000 by 2026, a Blueprint initiative that seeks to make Maryland more competitive nationally.

The Baltimore City Public School System has one of the most diverse student populations in the state at 93%. It also has the second highest percentage of teachers of color at 61%. But there is a racial gap between students and teachers of 31 percentage points. Prince George’s County, which has the most students of color in Maryland, also has the most teachers of color, nearly 80%. Its racial gap is 17 percentage points.

Baltimore County Public Schools has one of the largest racial gaps between students and teachers at 46 percentage points. About 70% BCPS students are of color compared with just 24% of teachers.

 

Cindy Sexton, president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County union, said recruitment and retention is a priority of the district but more work needs to be done.

“It is imperative that our students see themselves when they look at their educators and all the staff at their school,” Sexton said. “We need to do a better job of reaching out to those teachers who aren’t white.”

Somerset County Public Schools had the largest racial gap at 52 percentage points, followed by Wicomico and Howard counties.

Although teacher vacancies have declined compared with the previous school year, there are not enough incoming teachers to cover the gap in vacancies.

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©2024 Baltimore Sun. Visit baltimoresun.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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