Proportional (Mis)Representation

A ministers’ group in Rochester, New York, has charged that racial bias was behind the re-assignment of two black administrators by the school district.

In reply, the school district pointed out:

• For diversity recruitment, $200,000 was allocated last year and $245,000 is set aside for the coming school year.

• Forty-four administrators have been appointed for the 2006-07 school year, of which 23 are white (52 percent), 14 African-American (32 percent), 6 Hispanic (14 percent) and 1 Asian (2 percent).

• Of the nearly 400 teachers who have been hired for the new school year, 283 have been processed. Among those, 46 are African-American (16 percent), 36 are Hispanic (13 percent) and 4 are Asian (1 percent).

Hmm, I wonder if that would be “holistic” diversity recruitment, of the sort Justice O’Connor purported to find at Michigan, where the race of the “diversity” candidates being considered is but one of many factors considered in an individualized effort to bring diverse viewpoints and experiences into the school bureaucracy. Somehow I doubt it. Instead, I suspect that “diversity recruitment” means hiring enough blacks to make the ministers shut up. I also suspect that that sort of recruitment is ripe for legal challenge.

The group representation numbers are also interesting (leaving aside the question of whether teachers and administrators should be hired racially and ethnically to represent the population of the city). The proportion of white, black, Hispanic, and Asian administrators is relatively close to their proportions of the population of Rochester, with whites and Hispanics very slightly overrepresented and blacks a bit underrepresented (whites: 52% of administrators vs. 48% of population; blacks: 32% vs. 38%; Hispanics: 14% vs. 12.75%; Asians: 2% and 2%). But the 400 newly hired teachers tell a different story.

The newly hired Hispanic teachers perfectly reflect the proportion of Hispanics in Rochester (again, leaving aside whether Cubans can be represented by Mexicans, etc.). Blacks are underrepresented. But so, too, are Asians, whose proportion of newly hired teachers (1%) is less than half the proportion of Asians in Rochester (2.25%). Why is no one complaining about this patent unfairness to Asians?

Also note that neither Muslims nor Arabs were even mentioned. Presumably there are none in Rochester, or if there are for some reason they don’t register on the diversometer.

As we’ve seen in a number of posts, the school boards in Seattle and Louisville are pleading with the Supreme Court to let them continue assigning students to schools by race. But if students should be assigned by race, shouldn’t teachers and administrators be hired and assigned by race? Recall that Louisville requires all schools to be at least 15% but no more than 50% minority. Wouldn’t it be more efficient for the city council simply to pass an ordinance imposing those quotas on all new housing developments?

Say What? (3)

  1. staghounds September 7, 2006 at 2:04 pm | | Reply

    I believe that DIVERSOMETER is a neologism, I can’t find it in google. It’s a great term, I’ve blogged it and I’m trying to get it talked up. Still love your work, have your people call my people, thay’ll have lunch.


  2. John Rosenberg September 7, 2006 at 2:56 pm | | Reply

    Yes, I confess: I coined (neologged?) the term. Presumably that means I get to decide whether it is pronounced “di-ver-so-meter” or “di-ver-SOM-eter.” Suggestions welcome.

    Finally, do visit Staghounds. It’s quite good. (Who buys lunch?)

  3. staghounds September 11, 2006 at 11:00 am | | Reply

    Thank you for the kind review, luncheon is on me!

    I prefer “di-ver-SOM-eter” , and a soft third e. But I’m no linguist.

Say What?