Report: Black Students Who Have At Least One Black Teacher Are More Likely To Graduate
A new study reveals that black students that have at least one black teacher in elementary school are more likely to graduate high school and attend college.
Co-authored by a Johns Hopkins University economist the report, titled "The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers," started out by studying 100,000 black students who entered third grade in North Carolina public schools between 2001 and 2005.
Overall, approximately 13 percent ended up dropping out of high school, while about half graduated but had no plans of attending college.
However, low-income black students who were randomly assigned a to at least one black teacher in third, fourth or fifth grade were less likely to drop out of school (29 percent), as well as 18 percent more likely to express interest in college when they graduated.
Additionally, very low-income black students' chances of dropping out fell by 39 percent.
"We're seeing spending just one year with a teacher of the same race can move the dial on one of the most frustratingly persistent gaps in educational attainment — that of low-income black boys," co-author Nicholas Papageorge said. "It not only moves the dial, it moves the dial in a powerful way."
Sometimes referred to as the "role model effect," the "race match effect" is why the researchers believe that the interaction leads to long-lasting results.
"If having a teacher with high expectations for you matters in high school, imagine how much it matters in the third grade," Papageorge said. "Many of these kids can’t imagine being an educated person, and perhaps that's because they've never seen one that looks like them. Then they get to spend a whole year with one. This one black teacher can change a student's entire future outlook."
"This isn't a situation where students need two, three or four black teachers to make a difference. This could be implementable tomorrow," Papageorge added. "You could literally go into a school right now and switch around the rosters so that every black child gets to face a black teacher."