The National Center for Education Statistics' survey of teachers and principals shows that of the 90,400 K-12 principals in the 2015-16 school year, 78% were white, 11% were black and 8% were Hispanic, Education Week reports.
In charter schools, the portion of black principals rose to 15%, compared to 10% in traditional public schools, while 11% were Hispanic, compared to 8% in traditional schools.
- Charter school principals earn an average of $88,000, while principals in traditional schools earn more than $90,000, and the data also shows principals in suburban schools earn the highest salaries, while those in rural areas earn roughly $20,000 less — $105,700 compared to $83,000.
The data on principals was just a preview of a longer report to be released later this fall, Education Week reports. The survey also explores differences in how charter and traditional principals view their level of influence over areas such as teacher evaluation, curriculum and professional development.
The survey speaks to the larger issue of whether efforts to diversify the workforce have been successful. As the percentage of non-white students in public schools has increased over time, teachers and school administrators are still largely white and female. Research suggests, however, that students of color can benefit by attending a school that is led by a principal of the same race. Earlier this year, a study appearing in the Elementary School Journal showed that black students are more likely to be referred to gifted programs if they attend a school with a black principal or have black teachers. The same was true for Hispanic students in schools with more Hispanic teachers.
A Brown Center on Education Policy report released last year showed that hiring more black and Hispanic teachers alone won’t be enough to close the diversity gap in schools and that a more effective strategy is to focus on increasing college graduation rates of minority students and then recruiting them into the teaching profession. The paper recommends continuing efforts to retain minority teachers by making the profession more attractive and using multiple strategies to recruit and retain diverse educators. New Leaders, a nonprofit organization based in New York, has had success in recruiting and training more diverse administrators. Since its Aspiring Principals program began in 2001, 64% of the program’s alumni have been people of color, compared to roughly 20% nationally. This report from Hanover Research also features strategies for retaining diverse personnel and includes district profiles.