*While we would like to think that race doesn’t matter when it comes to being a person put in the position to teach, thinking this would not only be inaccurate, it would be naive.
Numerous factors have pointed to the difference in academic performance of minority students versus non-minority students; and these factors are largely due to the baggage that a teacher of a different race may bring with them. It’s not new news that minority students deal with racism and stereotyping by teachers. And with more than 80% of public school teachers being white – a new study says that hiring more minority teachers will have an amazing impact on the academia of minority students.
A study set to be released in the April issue of the Economics of Education Review, looks at how students’ test scores are impacted by the race of their teachers. A team of researchers analyzed data from the Florida Department of Education and found that black, white and Asian/Pacific Island students do slightly better in school during years when they share the same race/ethnicity as their teacher. Additionally, black and white students of lower academic performance especially benefit from having teachers of their same race, according to the study.
Minority children are often prejudged and pegged as bad kids; kids that come from troubled homes, special needs or at-risk – as soon as they enter the room.
This is a poor beginning for any student – but especially a student just entering the education process.
I can’t help but recall my own upbringing in West Virginia at a time when segregation was in full effect. I could not articulate my feelings about the assessment from the teacher who was telling my aunt and uncle that I would most likely never be able to read well or comprehend what I was reading. Now, with hundreds of published works under my belt, I wish I could find her and see where she ended up.
The aforementioned study posits that minority students would do much better if schools would recruit more minority teachers. This would give students someone they can relate to.
The researchers combed through data from the Florida State school districts and looked through tests taken by students in different schools and the scores they net. They then looked at the race of the teacher that the students had and saw the correlation between those scores and the race of the teacher. What they found was that black and white students did better with reading when they had a teacher that was the same race as them. They also found that black, white and Asian students did better in math when taught by a teacher of the same race.
There has always been a great need for more minority teachers overall. And while this need would greatly serve students just entering school; it is even more beneficial for students in high school to see more representation of teachers of the same race because their minds are more readily formed to appreciate what this means and they can take greater advantage of it.
According to the study, non-minority students were not negatively affected by having a teacher that is a different race.