Title Thumbnail

"Ethnically Qualified"

Race, Merit, and the Selection of Urban Teachers, 1920 - 1980

Christina Collins

272 pages
Teachers College Press
Why did the New York City school district once have the lowest ratio of minority teachers to minority students of any large urban school system in the country? Using an array of historical sources, this provocative book explores the barriers that African American and Latino candidates faced in attempting to become public school teachers in New York from the early 20th century through the end of the 1970s. Christina Collins argues that no single institution or policy was to blame for the city’s low numbers of nonwhite educators during this period. Instead, she concludes that it was the cumulative effect of discriminatory practices across an entire system of teacher training and selection that created New York’s unique lack of racial diversity in its teaching force. Because of its size and diversity, New York represents a particularly valuable case study for learning more about the history of urban teachers in the United States. And, with the current mandate for “qualified teachers” under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, this fascinating historical account will be essential reading as we debate who is qualified to teach in public school classrooms now and in the future.
Author Bio
Christina Collins has worked as a researcher and policy analyst at the United Federation of Teachers and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.