Camden’s publicly funded schools have lost the greatest share of Black teachers compared to other large, urban districts in New Jersey, according to a new report by New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP). And while other comparable districts have gained Hispanic/Latinx teachers over the last two decades, Camden has not.
“The entire state has a long way to go when it comes to recruiting teachers of color,” said Mark Weber, Ph.D., report author and Special Analyst for Education Policy at NJPP. “But what’s happened in Camden appears to be unique: a district that used to employ many Black teachers now employs far fewer, mostly because of charter school expansion. The fact that other communities with charter schools haven’t seen this loss suggests Camden could, and should, do much better in recruiting and retaining Black and Hispanic/Latinx teachers.”
The report, Camden Sheds Black Teachers at a Uniquely High Rate, finds that Camden’s decline in Black teachers is greater than that of any other comparable city in New Jersey. Since 1999, the percent of Camden’s publicly funded teachers who are Black declined by 22 percentage points. The shift in Camden’s teaching workforce from majority Black to majority white is a result of the growing charter school presence in the district, as charter and renaissance schools in the city predominantly hire white teachers.
The report compares the Camden City School District to other large districts (with more than 10,000 students) that have a significant charter school presence (where greater than 15 percent of students are enrolled in charter schools). When compared to these districts — Newark, Plainfield, Trenton, Paterson, and Jersey City — Camden has the highest share of students enrolled in charter schools (59 percent), the sharpest decline in Black teachers since 1999 (22 percent), and the lowest growth in Hispanic/Latinx teachers (2.6 percent).