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2010 Spotlight

High-Poverty Public Schools

What are the characteristics of teachers working in high-poverty schools?

In 2007–08, approximately 21 percent (or 410,400) of all full-time elementary school teachers taught in high-poverty schools, while 28 percent (or 543,800) taught in low-poverty schools (see table A-27-3). About 8 percent (or 87,100) of all full-time secondary school teachers worked in high-poverty schools, compared with 40 percent (or 414,500) who worked in low-poverty schools.

Generally, in 2007–08, for both elementary and secondary schools, there were few measurable differences between high- and low-poverty schools in the distribution of teachers by gender or by age. For example, 84 percent each of teachers working in high-poverty and low-poverty elementary schools were female. However, as was the case among principals, racial/ethnic differences in the teaching staffs of high- and low-poverty schools were observed. High-poverty elementary and secondary schools employed a greater percentage of Black and Hispanic teachers and a smaller percentage of White teachers than did low-poverty schools. For example, in 2007–08, among teachers working in high-poverty elementary schools, 62 percent were White, 16 percent were Black, and 18 percent were Hispanic. In comparison, among teachers working in low-poverty elementary schools, 93 percent were White, 3 percent were Hispanic, and 2 percent were Black.

Teacher educational attainment and professional certification varied by school poverty level. For both elementary and secondary schools, a smaller percentage of teachers working in high-poverty schools had earned at least a master's degree and a regular professional certification than had teachers working in low-poverty schools. For example, in 2007–08, some 38 percent of secondary school teachers working in high-poverty schools had a master's degree as their highest level of educational attainment, whereas 52 percent of secondary school teachers working in low-poverty schools had a master's as their highest level of attainment. Likewise, 82 percent of teachers in high-poverty secondary schools held a regular professional certification, compared with 89 percent of teachers in low-poverty secondary schools. In addition, for both elementary and secondary schools, a larger percentage of teachers working in high-poverty schools (21 percent for elementary and 22 percent for secondary) than of teachers working in low-poverty schools (16 percent for elementary and 15 percent for secondary) had less than 3 years of teaching experience (see table A-27-3).

For more information, visit the List of Figures.

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education