A new study that takes a look at the long-run impact of same-race teachers reveals that Black students who have Black teachers are more likely to experience academic success.
The study, published by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, found that students who have at least one Black teacher in third through fifth grades were less likely to drop out of school.
“The Long-run Impact of Same-race Teachers” suggest that by exposing Black girls and boys to at least one Black teacher in grades 3-5 significantly reduced the probability of low-income Black males dropping out of school by 39 percent.
“We show that by assigning a Black male to a Black teacher in the third, fourth, or fifth grades significantly reduces the probability that he drops out of high school, particularly among the most economically disadvantaged Black males,” a synopsis of the study reads. “Exposure to at least one Black teacher in grades 3-5 also increases the likelihood that persistently low-income students of both sexes aspire to attend a four-year college.”
Researchers found no affect on Black female student dropout decisions, perhaps due to females’ significantly higher graduation rates. The study also noted that assignment to three Black teachers has a greater impact on educational attainment than assignment to a single Black teacher. But researchers say the differences tend to be small in magnitude.
“The lack of strong dosage effects suggests an important policy implication: the number of Black teachers need not be dramatically increased to close racial gaps in educational attainment,” the report said. “Rather, our results suggest that efforts to match Black students with at least one Black teacher in primary school could begin immediately, by thoughtfully matching students to current teachers.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in each year from 1990 to 2014, the status dropout rate for Black youth declined from 13.2 to 7.4 percent, but still remained higher than the dropout rate for White youth (9.0 to 5.2 percent). In that same time-period, researchers also noted a decline in the status dropout rate for youth in low- and middle-income families (24.3 to 11.6).
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