Race, Gender, and Networks: How Teachers’ Social Connections Structure Access to Job Opportunities in Districts With School Choice

This qualitative study by Huriya Jabbar, Rachel Boggs, and Joshua Childs investigates the role of teachers’ social networks in their job opportunities in districts with school choice. Based on interviews and surveys among teachers searching for job in New Orleans and Detroit, the authors find that teachers largely relied on their social connections in the hiring process, but white teachers had more connections to power than teachers from underrepresented racial minority groups. Because of recent pushes to increase diversity of the teaching force, black and Latinx/Hispanic teachers appear to be in high-demand, but often face discrimination in the hiring process. For male teachers, opportunities both in the classroom and with leadership positions seem more readily available. Social connections also contribute to where teachers choose to apply, with perceptions of certain schools being more or less accepting of people like them.

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