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This differential exposure to layoffs is also a pattern that holds within districts, particularly those that implement district-wide, seniority-based layoffs (Goldhaber and Theobald 2013). For example, in the first two years of the Great Recession, black and Hispanic elementary students in Los Angeles Unified School District had 72 percent and 25 percent greater odds, respectively, of having their teacher laid off compared with their white peers (Knight and Strunk 2016). The intuition for this is straightforward. Schools that serve students of color and students from low-income backgrounds are, on average, staffed by less-experienced teachers (Clotfelter et al. 2006; Peske and Haycock 2006; Goldhaber, Quince, and Theobald 2018). This pattern of differential exposure to early career teachers is clearly evident in table 2. Among a nationally representative sample of eighth-grade students who took the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 16.4 percent of black students and 18.0 percent of Hispanic students were taught English language arts by early career teachers (two years or less) compared with only 12.1 percent of white students. Similarly, 14.9 percent of students from low-income backgrounds had early career English language arts teachers compared with 11.4 percent of their more affluent peers.

Table 2.

Percent of U.S. Eighth-Grade Students Taught by Early Career Teachers in English Language Arts

Student Race/EthnicityEarly Career Teachers
Overall 13.0% 
White 12.1% 
Black 16.4% 
Hispanic 18.0% 
FRPL eligible 14.9% 
FRPL ineligible 11.4% 
Student Race/EthnicityEarly Career Teachers
Overall 13.0% 
White 12.1% 
Black 16.4% 
Hispanic 18.0% 
FRPL eligible 14.9% 
FRPL ineligible 11.4% 

Note: Early career teachers have two or fewer years of experience. FRPL = free or reduced-price lunch. Students attend traditional and charter public schools.

Source: 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress restricted-use files for eighth-grade reading.

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