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ADL Warns Ethnic Data on Teacher Selection List Could Bring ‘ Reverse Racism’

July 16, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith is still waiting for a reply from New York City School Chancellor Harvey B. Scribner to its request that he review and take appropriate action in the case of a Bronx school district’s method of selecting teachers, The request was sent to Dr. Scribner June 28, According to Milton A. Seymour, chairman of the ADL’s New York Board, the community superintendent of School District 9, upon the request of the Community School Board, sent a list of 247 teachers, requested by principals to be appointed to their schools this fall, to the presidents of parents associations in the district. The list described the teachers only by name, current school and racial or ethnic background. Harold Schiff, director of education of the ADJ’s New York region, said the ADL considers the list a procedurally wrong way to select teachers. He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the ethnic information listed after each teacher’s name was “Puerto Rican or other Spanish-speaking background.” “Black” or “Other.” The student body of School District 9 is predominantly Black and Puerto Rican.

The list sent to parents in the district was accompanied by a memorandum asking them to notify the principal and parents association president “of any teacher who has not performed satisfactorily… so that they are not deluded into requesting a teacher who has been less than satisfactory elsewhere. “A subsequent memo from the Community Superintendent. Andrew G. Donaldson, explained that “We created the list with teacher ethnic designations in order to better determine our projected distribution of Black and Puerto Rican teachers and of future recruitment needs. “Seymour said that describing teachers by ethnic and racial backgrounds” sets a dangerous precedent which could lead to reverse racism in employment practices.” He said such listing” encourages the selection of teachers on factors extraneous of their capabilities. ” The list sent to District 9 parents contained no information on the teachers’ academic background or experience.

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