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BTF report shows lack of ethnic diversity in charter school administrations

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The Buffalo Teachers Federation has released a new report that shows wide racial disparity among students and faculty in Erie County's charter schools and a lack of diversity among its teachers and administrators.

The BTF report, which was prepared by New York State United Teachers, provides information including the percentages of students who are classified as White, Black, African-American, Hispanic or Latino.

Throughout Erie County, about 25 percent of charter school students are White while 81 percent of principals and assistant principals are of the same ethnicity. In the City of Buffalo's charter schools, 57 percent of principals and assistant principals are classified as White.

"Some of the individual charter schools are far worse," said BTF President Phil Rumore. "In the Western New York Maritime Charter School, 62 percent of the students are black or African-American. There are no black or African-American principals or assistant principals at the school."

Enterprise Charter School, according to the findings, has a student population made up of 93 percent non-Whites while there were zero Black, African-American, Hispanic or Latino principals or assistant principals.

The report also identified Buffalo United Charter School as having 98 percent non-White students while 83 percent of the principals and assistant principals are White.

Rumore said while his organization is not taking aim at the current teachers and administrators, they are calling on legislators to take action to ensure more diversity in future hires. They're also willing to explore options through the courts if necessary. 

"We want the charter schools to understand that when they're hiring administrators, they have to be more cognizant and make sure it's reflective of the students," Rumore said. 

He added that while diversity by itself will not improve scores, having more diversity among the faculty will serve to motivate and inspire many students.

The report does not measure the percentages of ethnicities among the applications for admission to charter schools.