Of the 3.3 million teachers in American public elementary and secondary schools in 2012, according to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, 82 percent were white, and just 7 percent were Black. It’s taken as conventional wisdom in many quarters that one of the reasons so many Black children, especially Black males, suffer in school is because not enough of them are taught by Black teachers. But how do Black teachers make a difference to Black children?
Blacks Teachers Treat Them Better
Researchers Kenneth Meier and Joseph Stewart found that African-American students scored higher on standardized achievement tests in the presence of African-American teachers. They surmised that Black teachers may be more empathetic toward Black students. Other researchers found that although Black teachers were no more likely to praise young Black students than white teachers, they were much less likely to respond negatively to them than the white teachers.