My goal in this study is to examine some of the diminishing factors that distinctively influence the limited presence of African American teachers in the teaching profession. The study is designed to investigate some of the reasons a large number of African American teachers appear to be leaving the teaching profession.
A review of the literature has revealed that qualified and motivated African American teachers from across the nation and around the world are leaving the teaching profession in record breaking numbers (Black, 2001). Additionally, a study of the research was applied to determine whether intrinsic factors or extrinsic factors of job satisfaction play a significant role in both the attrition and retention of African American teachers. A significant number of theorists and researchers have raised great concern regarding the rate at which African American teachers are continuing to leave the teaching profession--a rate which far exceeds the retention and attrition rates of non-minority teachers in both the public and private educational settings (Brumback, 2003; Certo & Fox, 2002; Cooner, 2004).
The methodology for this study included both quantitative (survey, observation, etc.) and qualitative (interviews). The interviews were structured interviews with two groups of current and former teachers from the Boston Unified School District, serving as participants.
Both qualitative and quantitative questions guided and informed this study with the results disclosing significant differences between African American teachers and non-minority teachers not only in the Boston Unified School District, but around the world, particularly since the Boston public school student population is increasing and schooling around the world is becoming increasingly diverse. Diversity as an excuse has been identified as an important focal point for teacher attrition, teacher retention, and recruitment yet proven to be only a minor factor (Delpit, 1996). Teaching is a very difficult job both physically and mentally and the legislature, the unions, the media, and indeed the school community are making it less attractive for young people to enter the teaching profession (Darling-Hammond, 2003). It is too often assumed that teachers leave their positions for reasons such as work load, salary, and social status. The literature however, has identified some specific job satisfaction factors that often determine the level of quality and comfort, stress and discomfort, and support and nonsupport that new teachers experience during their first 3 years. Job satisfaction is a major determinant in teacher education. While it seems that the number of minority students is increasing, the number of minority teachers is decreasing. My study related to African American teachers only recognizing that all students need role models. History does not serve African Americans well with respect to role models, pride, culture, and so on, thus the critical need to maintain African American teachers that will pass on the history of their Black cultural experiences to young people thus instilling in them a sense of Black pride (Reed & Sullivan, 1987). Providing minority students with minority teachers has been known to help minority students hem to achieve at the highest level possible (Banks, 2006).
In summary, the purpose of this study was to examine the reasons why teachers, especially African American teachers, leave the teaching profession and to determine which factors impact their decision.