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“Worn & Weary” Black Teachers’ Storied Experiences and Recommendations around their Attrition and Retention in Philadelphia Schools

The benefits of a diverse teaching staff are well-established in research literature. Yet in Philadelphia, and many of the nation’s largest school systems, the number and share of Black teachers has been declining for at least two decades.

With support from the William Penn Foundation, RFA conducted a citywide study to expand understanding of why so many Black teachers have left the teaching profession in Philadelphia. The study centers the perspectives from a sample of 30 current or former Black teachers in the city, about systemic factors that contribute to Black teacher attrition and the elements that sustain teachers who persist in teaching despite challenges. The report includes participant recommendations for specific supports, systems, and resources needed to address barriers to recruitment and retention and ultimately increase educator diversity in Philadelphia schools.