Black Male Students Benefit Academically From Having Black Male Teachers

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.


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  1. Saleem says:

    As a product of a segregated society in the USA I was blessed to attenf Fairmont Heights high an all Black school until the year we graduated in 1969. We were also enrolled in elementary and junior high institutions that were all Black. We fared better than our black counterparts who attended segregated schools during the time when busing was an experiment. In those days we had exceptional Black teachers who cared genuinely about our education because they saw us as family not fiends.
    Fast forward to my sons first day in an integrated school circa 1985. My wife was informed by a non Black teacher that she could not relate to him as a five year old Black child. Figure the odds of him graduating high school let alone colege if we were not actively involved in his education.
    In today’s reality according to Dr. Gundersons findings the odds against the Black child receiving a quality education are 4 to 1. I daresay that the odds against the Black male are greater. The chances are greater that he will be incarcerated before he will be in college.
    I challenge all Blacks in higher education to do what you can to change this inequality.

    • Jamison says:

      @ Saleem-

      Once a black child has been labeled learning disabled or diagnosed w/ ADHD they will be labeled through their formative schooling years, placed in special education classes, and isolated from the rest of the general student population. If not that, then planted into less-rigorous, low-tied classes. In the end, they are likely to be “socially promoted” or drop-out; the former can explain the reason why we are suddenly seeing high graduation rates for black and Hispanic groups.

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