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- Black female teachers' presence, perseverance, and promise : how educational leaders can combat teacher turnover trends
- Stanley, Darrius A.
- Electronic Theses & Dissertations
This dissertation explores the depth of the Black educator turnover problem in today’s public schools. Black educators across the country have experienced higher than average turnover rates, eroding the success of recent minority teacher recruitment efforts. This epidemic has left the field of teaching consistent with the status quo, white and female. More recent research reveals that Black female teachers are leaving the classroom at alarming rates. Research consistently highlights school...
Show moreThis dissertation explores the depth of the Black educator turnover problem in today’s public schools. Black educators across the country have experienced higher than average turnover rates, eroding the success of recent minority teacher recruitment efforts. This epidemic has left the field of teaching consistent with the status quo, white and female. More recent research reveals that Black female teachers are leaving the classroom at alarming rates. Research consistently highlights school leadership as a primary influence for Black teacher turnover. Together, the research and turnover statistics suggest that race and school leadership are primary factors contributing to the increased departure of Black female teachers. However, there is less qualitative understanding of the depth of these impacts on Black female teacher turnover. This study explores three distinct queries. 1. What factors do Black female teachers perceive as most influential to their decisions to stay or leave their schools? 2. What role do Black female teachers suggest race plays in their decisions to stay or leave their schools?3. What role do Black female teachers suggest school leadership plays in their decisions to stay or leave their schools?Fifteen Black female teachers’ voices, experiences and perspectives are centered in this study which leans upon phenomenological and case study methodologies. The primary data collection tools included interviews and documents. The participants represent a diverse sample of Black female teachers that range in teaching experience, contexts, personal background, and grade levels. Elements of Black Feminism in Education and Critical Race Feminism were used to guide analysis and more importantly highlight the unique intersectional identities of the participants. Three major themes emerged from the interviews that have contributed to participants’ career experiences: 1) the impact of racial, cultural and gendered identity; 2) the impact of school leadership; and 3) the impact of organizations. The findings from this study highlight the impact of intersectional identity on Black female teachers’ career journeys. It exposes the sacrifices and commitments they have to teaching that are heavily influenced by their raced, gendered and classed herstories. Further, the findings suggest that school leaders who have the awareness of Black female teachers’ social justice related commitments and the pledge to uplift their voices within schools are better positioned to retain them. This study also finds that when organizations lack the awareness of racial, cultural and gender related issues, Black female teachers become less satisfied in those organizations. At the center of this study is the need for school leaders to develop and sustain more inclusive organizations that consider the personal backgrounds and intersectional identities of Black female teachers, if they wish to retain them in today’s public schools. The results of this study suggest that school leaders must play a more intentional role in retaining Black female teachers. The results suggest that school leaders must willfully support Black female teachers’ social justice agendas and pedagogies on their terms. Also, school leaders must create organizational cultures that are conducive to the unique needs of Black female faculty. Finally, schools and school leaders must listen to the voices of Black female teachers as a mechanism to retain their presence in the classroom and to uplift underserved, specifically Black, students in the curriculum and the school.