Report on Minority Employees in the MMSD

Press Release from the BOE Human Resources Committee:
The number of racial minorities employed by the Madison Metropolitan School District has increased substantially since 1987 according to a report released today. The data also includes information from 1994. “The Board of Education has made diversifying our workforce a strong priority, I am happy to see the increase in the numbers of staff that reflects the diversity of our schools” says Juan Jose Lopez, the Chair of the Human Resources Committee which also includes board members Shwaw Vang and Johnny Winston, Jr.

Minority employees in the district increased from 153 in 1987 to 331 in 1994 to 501 in 2005, an increase of 227% since 1987 and 51% since 1994.
Minorities in the district made up 5.8% of employees in 1987, 9.4% in 1994 and 12.6% in 2005.
The number of minority administrators increased from 12 to 23 from 1987 to 1994 and was reported as 22 in 2005.
Minority teachers increased from 91 in 1987 to 157 in 1994 and 233 in 2005. Minority teachers represented 5.4% of the teaching staff in 1987, 7.0% in 1994 and 9.3% in 2005.
Educational Assistant positions held by racial minorities increased from 15 in 1987 to 51 in 1994 to 85 in 2005. Minority EAs represented 4.6% of that work group in 1987, 10.6% in 1994 and 15.7% in 2005.
Minorities working in the clerical/technical field showed an increase of only one from 14 in 1987 to 15 in 2005. Minority food service workers increased from 2 in 1987 to 16 in 1994 to 32 in 2005 and represented 1.8% of the unit’s workforce in 1987, 12% in 1994 and 23.2 % in 2005.
Minority custodial staff increased from 19 to 37 from 1987 to 1994 and remained at 37 in 2005. However, since the custodial staff has been reduced in recent years, these numbers represent 8.5% of the unit’s workforce in 1987, 15% in 1994 and 17.7% in 2005.
The makeup of the minority groups in 2005 is as follows: 207 African Americans, 165 Hispanic, 103 Asian and 26 Native Americans for a total of 501 minority employees.
Mr. Lopez adds that although these numbers are increasing the district must remain diligent in these very challenging economic times. “Our school district is competing with other districts as well as public and the private sector to recruit qualified minority and culturally competent candidates. We have to provide good compensation and benefit packages that will help us attract those candidates to our district. By continuing our commitment to diversity efforts, we not only create a better school district but a better community as a whole to learn in.”
For more information regarding this press release please contact Juan Jose Lopez at 242-5473 (home), 267-1932 (work), e-mail or Robert Nadler, Director of Human Resources at 663-1745, e-mail

5 thoughts on “Report on Minority Employees in the MMSD”

  1. With the budget cuts expected across the board at all Madison schools, I expect the number of minority employees (namely teachers) in the district to radically decline. The last one hired is the first one fired. Since recruiting a “diverse” staff has recently become a priority for this district, the employees that truly suffer are teachers of color.
    This is totally unfair, given that almost half of this district’s students are either Hmong, African-American, or Latino. While these specific demographics rapidly increase at the MMSD, the rate of white teachers remains at 91%! This has a dramatic impact on students of color and other ethnic and cultural minorities, mainly due to the lack of role models that can relate to them in ways that “mainstream” white teachers just can’t.
    There are many sad things about this predicament. Primarily, many teachers of color are recruited from out of town and have to relocate at great cost to themselves and their families in order to work in Madison. Let’s face it, Madison is not that friendly of a place for middle class minorities, no matter how liberal it portrays itself to be. There isn’t a critical mass of middle class Blacks or Hispanics in the area and its not difficult to ascertain the reason.
    Secondly, the MMSD does not seem to do anything to support minority teachers once they are in the system. The so-called “mentoring” programs are absymal. So are the “professional development” programs (i.e. Glenn Singleton). Teachers of color are also expected to represent their “race” and focus on activities that are way beyond the realm of their responsibilities in the classroom. All, of course, without the benefit of extra pay. There are very few teachers of color in the academic core subject areas as well.
    I felt compelled to respond to this post because, as a long time reader of this blog site, I can’t help to notice all the talk of “reducing the academic achievement gap”. The MMSD likes to gloat about how it is very “progressive” in recruiting minorities as teachers and administrators, but in reality, this is far from the case. These “diversity” efforts mentioned in this post will suffer even greater damage once budget cuts hit the fan.
    If the MMSD can’t take steps to alleivate the specific burdens facing minority educators in its organization, then how does this impact the perceptions that students of color have towards the district?

  2. All excellent points; however, if I’m not mistaken, the MMSD doesn’t decide who loses their job during budget cuts. Seniority is governed by MTI. Does anyone know what the racial diversity level is like on the MTI Board?

  3. David:
    You raise a great point about seniority being in MTI’s domain, however, the MMSD negotiates the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in collaboration with the union. Also, the MMSD recruits the teachers of color, so most of the responsibility falls on their shoulders. With that being said, I don’t know about the racial make up of the MTI board, but that’s a good question to investigate.
    Regardless, I feel the district needs to do a better job of recruiting and retaining teachers of color. Their efforts must be more geuinine and proactive. The union is not going to do it for them. Solutions to the seniority problem must be addressed “outside the box”, but using the CBA as it currently stands. That sounds like an oxymoron, but you have to start somewhere.
    For one, I don’t have all of the solutions, but this issue needs to be given more than a token consideration when discussing budget cuts. I do know that special layoff provisions that keep less senior minority teachers over more tenured faculty have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. So, that’s not what I would do. Yet, if this problem remains unchecked, the district won’t even be able to continue to tout its paltry numbers of minority teachers in the near future.
    A lot of talented, young teachers (of all types of backgrounds) are being disenchanted and overburdened during these times of budget crisis in Wisconsin schools. This happens to multiply tremendously when it comes to teachers of color.

  4. FO makes excellent points. Know the issue, know the constraints (educational and financial) – that’s the box. Now, what do we want – teaching staff that reflects our student population, community nation and stability. Getting there will take us outside the box.
    If the school board does not discuss these issues, except during the few “intense” weeks of “final” budget presentations/discussions, we won’t know implications of different decisions and financial constraints until too late, leading to loss of staff of color, demoralization of all staff, etc.
    At no time have I seen the School Board’s HR committee seriously take up this issue where discussions of this sort would take place. First, though, the entire board needs to take this issue up and provide directions to the HR committee and to the administration of what they need to look at – beginning well in advance of the last week in April start of the budget discussions for next year. Who are the staff, what are their licenses, what is their seniority, what opportunities exist for cross-training, increased number of licenses, how do we get there – provisional licenses, development dollars, etc.? I have not seen substantive public discussions on such staffing issues, and I hope they take place.

  5. Barb,
    I agree with your assertion that the School Board must proactively look at this issue before “crunch time”, when its already too late. I also maintain that the district must hire multifaceted candidates from the get go. This means that they may have dual certification, be bilingual, may come from a different profession that can fill a position downtown, etc. . . That way, the teachers of color may be indispensable due to their versatility. I know this is easier said and done, and that teachers of color are already in short supply.
    From what I recall, the Affirmative Action Teacher Recruiter at Doyle was going to be eliminated in 2001. It took massive lobbying for that position to be kept. I wonder if the position is in danger of being cut this year.
    With the budget cuts hitting the schools already, I already know that any teacher of color recruited by the district this year probably is subject to layoff. I know that the school board has held several meetings throughout the years with regards to recruiting teachers and administrators of color. However, the strategies have been superficial at best.

Comments are closed.