Minority Teachers Could Help Close the Performance Gap

Could hiring more minority teachers help reduce the performance gap? A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that might be the case.

According to this Washington Post article, the researchers found that minority students in community colleges did better when taught by minority instructors of similar race or ethnicity. According to the working paper, black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American students at De Anza College in California who had minority instructors were 2.9 percent more likely to pass courses.

The higher success rate was due in part to what researchers dubbed “the role-model effect,” which appears to cause minority students to react more favorably to a minority instructor.

This might be particularly relevant for students in K-12 because the researchers found that younger students were more influenced by the “role-model effect.”

The number of minority teachers in the country remains low. According to the National Center for Education Information, only 16 percent of K-12 teachers are non-white and only 6 percent are Latino.

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