Although nearly 90% of school superintendents said conversations about race and equity are either extremely or very important, only 21% said they were “very well prepared” for that responsibility, according to preliminary findings from AASA, The School Superintendents Association’s 2020 Decennial Study.

The study’s survey results show urban and suburban superintendents rated race and equity conversations of greater importance than rural superintendents. Among Black superintendents, 65.8% reported conversations about race were extremely important, compared to 58.6% of Hispanic/Latinx respondents and 36.6% of White respondents, according to study’s lead editor Chris Tienken.

The 2020 survey results, centered on the roles and demographics of school and district leaders, comes at a time when schools across the nation are attempting comprehensive approaches for addressing diversity and antiracist practices.

The AASA study also shows student populations are becoming increasingly diverse, although several groups say much more work is needed to improve racial and socioeconomic integration. According to the survey, 34% of respondents worked in districts where less than 5% of students were non-White, compared to almost 50% in 2010, said Tienken, who offered a sneak-peek at the 2020 study results.

The preliminary findings also show women are filing into school superintendent roles but still represent only one-fourth of the top district leadership positions nationwide.

The 2020 study shows women of color represent almost 13% of all female superintendents, and men of color represent 7% of all male superintendents. The results may help educators understand the national context as they work to diversify the superintendency through policy, professional development, superintendent preparation programs and more, Tienken said.

Read the full article about representation among school superintendents by Kara Arundel at Education Dive.