Additional Analysis of Racial Group Staff Disparities in NJ School Districts

A previous article “Racial Group Staff Disparities in NJ School Districts” published in February 2007 in this website (see “Archived Pol/Soc Commentary” page) presented our initial analysis of racial group (RG) staff disparities in NJ school districts. That analysis showed that there is significant under-representation of minority RGs at the certificated staff level for the six school districts analyzed. The article ended with the statement “it seems that the under-representation of minority RGs at the certificated staff level is a systemic issue in NJ, and is not limited to just a few school districts in NJ.”

Because of the interest generated on this issue, the current article discusses additional analysis done for 10 more school districts, and presents the results for all 16 school districts in a more easily readable format. Our additional analysis confirms the above statement that the under-representation of minority RGs at the certificated staff level is a systemic issue in NJ.

The results of our complete analysis are shown in the table below. The data are public domain data from the NJ Department of Education (DOE) website: http://www.state.nj.us/education/data/. Our results clearly show that aside from a few small exceptions, almost all the minority groups in all 16 school districts are under-represented (entries with an underscore) in the certificated staff level. Examples of the largest under-representation are:

  • For Black RG: Long Branch City – % of students and certificated staff are respectively 31.4% and 9.9%
  • For Hispanic RG: Asbury Park – % of students and certificated staff are respectively 18.4% and 2.1%
  • For Asian RG: Bridgewater – % of students and certificated staff are respectively 16.7% and 0.7%
  • For Native American RG: Holmdel – % of students and certificated staff are respectively 0.3% and 0% (for Native American RG, the numbers are very small and may not be statistically significant)

The under-representations are especially large for the Asian RG in quite a few school districts, often with a factor of 10 or more in the discrepancy.

Comparison of Student and Certificated Staff Distributions for Various RGs
(2004-2005)

SchoolDistrict

White

Black

Hispanic

Asian

Native

American

Stud-ent % Staff% Stud-ent % Staff% Stud-ent % Staff% Stud-ent % Staff% Stud-

ent %

Staff%
AsburyPark

1.7

66.0

79.6

31.4

18.4

2.1

0.3

0.2

0.0

0.2

Bridge-water

73.9

98.4

2.5

0.4

6.9

0.5

16.7

0.7

0

0

CamdenCity

1.1

37.8

53.8

52.4

43.3

8.8

1.6

1.0

0.1

0

CherryHill

Township

75.3

93.8

6.9

3.5

3.7

1.5

13.9

1.1

0.1

0.1

Edison

38.5

89.3

8.6

2.6

8.2

5.0

44.5

3.0

0.1

0

Fort Lee

40.7

89.8

3.5

1.4

11.3

3.8

44.4

5.1

0.1

0

Hillsbor-ough

80.4

95.3

4.4

1.8

5.6

2.6

9.6

0.4

0

0

Holmdel

76.8

96.6

0.5

1.0

1.2

0.3

21.3

2.1

0.3

0.0

LongBranch

City

33.1

83.1

31.4

9.9

33.9

5.6

1.5

1.2

0.1

0.2

Marlboro

74.4

94.5

2.1

1.2

3.1

3.3

20.3

1.0

0.1

0

Middle-town

92.0

97.6

1.8

1.0

3.5

1.4

2.6

0

0.2

0

Montgom-ery

71.8

93.3

2.5

1.4

2.5

2.6

23.1

2.4

0.1

0.2

NewarkCity

7.9

39.3

59.5

45.6

31.6

12.7

0.8

1.7

0.2

0.6

TrentonCity

3.2

50.5

67.3

40.3

28.9

7.6

0.5

1.6

0.1

0

Warren

79.6

97.6

1.1

0.4

3.6

0.4

15.6

1.6

0

0

WestWindsor/

Plains-

boro

50.4

90.7

4.7

3.2

5.2

3.2

39.5

2.9

0.1

0

If one is interested in absolute numbers, instead of percentages, one can convert the above percentages into absolute numbers using the information in the table below. The total number of students and certificated staff for the above 16 districts are:

NJ School District

Total No. of Students

Total No. of Certificated Staff

Asbury Park City

2,812

427

Bridgewater

8,777

823

Camden City

16,385

1,909

Cherry Hill Township

11,578

1,024

Edison

13,563

1,248

Fort Lee

3,442.5[1]

293

Hillsborough

7,668.5

737

Holmdel

3,561

291

Long Branch City

5,401

585

Marlboro

6,012

492

Middletown

10,272

913

Montgomery

4,898.5

418

Newark City

42,031.5

4,826

Trenton City

12,982.5

1,283

Warren

2,255

246

West Windsor/Plainsboro

9,096.5

850

What are the major reasons for such under-representation? As discussed in our original article, without access to appropriate data (e.g., data on recruiting and hiring policies and procedures, and their corresponding statistics), we cannot say for certain. Possible reasons may include:

  • Small pool of qualified staff from minority RGs
  • Lack of proper advertisements of openings that can adequately reach these minority RGs
  • Assessment standards that may not be fair to minority RGs
  • Interviewing and selection biases, including subtle ones.

We must, on the one hand, urge the NJ DOE and the various school districts to look into this issue, and find solutions that can remove the above under-representations of minority RGs, thus providing a fairer and richer diversified staff to serve the diversified student population in NJ. This is not only important for the minority RGs, but it is also important for the competitiveness of our country as the world becomes more flat (as described in Thomas L. Friedman’s book The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century).

We also must, on the other hand, impress on the minority RGs to recognize that there are good job opportunities in the education field and actively encourage more of their students to go into this field.

Even though we have only analyzed school districts in NJ, we believe that the RG staff disparity is a systemic issue across the whole country.

[1] Fractional numbers exist because some people belong to more than one racial group.

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