A study led by a researcher at American University in Washington, D.C., has found that students, especially non-White students, greatly benefit from having teachers that share their gender and race.
Lead author Seth Gershenson found that underserved Black boys who have Black teachers were much more likely to perform better on standardized tests and in the classroom. However, 77 percent of elementary and high school teachers are White women. As a result, some Black male students may never be taught by someone who looks like them.
Dr. Gershenson found that when Black students had a Black teacher between third and fifth grade, boys were much less likely to drop out of high school, and both boys and girls were more likely to attend college. Additionally, the researchers found that Black teachers tend to have much higher expectations for Black students than White teachers. White students who had Black teachers saw no change in their success levels.
The researchers believe that their “findings also suggest that a straightforward policy lever – assignment of Black male students to Black teachers – can help to close frustratingly persistent achievement gaps.” The full study, “The Long-Run Impact of Same-Race Teachers,” can be read here.