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PA principals and superintendents are much less diverse than the students they serve, according to a Penn State study

Black history class photos
Stephen Smith
The number of leaders of color in Pennsylvania has remained stagnant since 2014, with only 12% of principals and superintendents in the state being people of color.

A recent report from the Penn State Center for Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, found that in K-12 schools leaders of color are underrepresented when compared to students of color.

The report found that 12% of principals and superintendents in Pennsylvania are leaders of color, a percentage that has remained flat since 2014. One-third of students are children of color.

In recent years, the number of teachers of color has been decreasing and is currently at 6%, meaning there are fewer to move into those leadership positions.

Ed Fuller is the director of the Center. He said previous research has found very tangible benefits when students of color are at a school with leaders of color.

“You end up with greater student achievement, higher graduation rates, greater probability of entering college, less likely to get enmeshed in the disciplinary system, less likely to be misidentified for special ed courses, and more likely to be placed in gifted courses,” Fuller said.

This is the first research brief in a series Fuller is working on. Next, he plans to look across the state and analyze the race of teachers, principals and superintendents by district.

Casey Zanowic is a WPSU radio news intern for fall 2022.