Study: Black Students Don't Achieve More With Black Teachers

Discussion in 'General Education' started by EdEd, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 21, 2012

    Interesting post on edweek today: This article references a study which apparently finds no correlation between racial composition of faculty and student achievement. In other words, it apparently finds that Black students do not necessarily learn better or worse with African-American teachers.

    While this is only study, this certainly adds support to my own personal observations - of course, teaching is a complex task, and there are many different variables that contribute to a teacher being better or worse. Race - even if a variable on some level - can't possibly be as important as variables such as knowledge of data-driven decision making, skill with various instructional techniques, etc.

    http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2012/06/study_black_students_dont_achieve_more_with_black_teachers.html

    Thoughts?
     
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  3. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Jun 21, 2012

    Ed, your link will not open the page for me!
    However, I can totally believe that there would be no correlation between the two-based on my personal experience. I work with a completely different culture than my own, and yes, I did need to learn about the culture I work with, but it has not been a barrier in my effectiveness as a teacher. Also, teachers in my district that are of the same culture as my students are not necessarily more effective, either.
     
  4. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Jun 21, 2012

    I think Ed Week is having issues with its website right now. So not having read the article, I can't comment specifically, but this doesn't seem like a shocker to me. I do, however, believe that students (and people in general) are more likely to raise their self-expectations if they have role models who are like themselves. It's possible that the influence doesn't come across in academic achievement, but instead manifests as loftier goals or greater drive.
     
  5. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 21, 2012

    Hmmm - yeah, the link is not working for me either - hoping myrisophilist is right in that edweek is having issues and it will be resolved soon.

    Also, I agree that having positive role models that are more similar to oneself is a helpful thing. It also may be that such a variable does have an (indirect) impact on academic achievement, but that it's not sufficient to produce academic gains, and that other variables were missing in those schools. Would be interesting to be able to look more closely at the data.
     
  6. each1teach1

    each1teach1 Cohort

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    Jun 22, 2012

    I can't open the link, but it fits with my personal experience. I'm a black teacher and when I first started teaching, I had just turned 22. And the administrators that I was a cure all and the the black students would relate better to a young black teacher. They would give me as many of the black students as they could. We got along alright, but I don't think they achieved any better than they would have with my white counterparts. Many of them just barely passed because they did not have the strong foundation they needed. They may have liked me better because of my color but I don't feel like it helped their grades any. I don't think people relate because of color, but rather because of shared experience. That experience showed me that it's easier to relate along class lines than race lines. Those students at best were growing up lower middle class, if that high while I myself was raised firmly middle middle class. I couldn't relate to a lot of their daily experiences (moving every few months to get rent deals, going in and out of alternative education, getting suspended, getting pregnant, having to work to provide for the family, etc.) even though I was the same race.

    I once read (I'm pretty sure it was Ruby Payne) that the issue was that most teachers come from middle class families, but the students they teach will come from either lower or higher economic status and that's what causes the conflict. I completely agree with that.
     
  7. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Jun 22, 2012

    Each-it is Ruby Payne. I love her. I attended her workshop-and she made SO much sense. It is more of the economic status than it is the cultural status. I have no problem relating to my African American students or their parents.
     
  8. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jun 22, 2012

    I read one of Ruby Payne's books and loved it. But I think that you don't necessarily need to come from a lower socio economic background in order to work with students in those areas. But you do need to have a firm understanding in the culture, the family dynamics, etc. in order to help those students achieve. I used her book as tool to help me better understand my students and their families, it didn't make me feel like I shouldn't be working with them. My students are younger, only 4th grade, but face many issues I never had to deal with at that age or ever in my life. However they don't look at me as someone who doesn't understand or doesn't care or help them. Honestly, they look at me as someone they can aspire to be. So many of them are constantly telling me they want to go to the college I went to (not far from where I teach) and be teachers when they grow up.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

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    Jun 22, 2012

    I do have some problems relating to some of my students and their parents. I've been told, by them, that my problem is that I'm white. I don't think my skin color has anything to do with it at all. I agree that that it is more due to shared experiences. When I've run school experiences by my black friends they are just as shocked as I am. But these friends of mine were brought up like I was, similar values, similar economic status, similar households.

    Frankly, and I know this will sound horrible to some, I am not sure that I ever want to get to the point where I understand some of what goes on with some of my students' families. The choices that are made are so foreign to me. I'm usually one that can understand the WHY even if I don't agree with a practice.

    And...I don't think I would change much of what I do even if I did understand those choices. Going back to the pencil thread from a couple of weeks ago - I've been told that some of my black students won't ever bring a pencil to school because that would make them look "too white" in front of their peers. That's just ridiculous. True or not, it is ridiculous. And I am not about to encourage such assinine behavior. I am definitely not going to take pennies away from my own children so I can buy pencils for kids that have to posture over something so stupid.

    I just cannot relate to a mother that tells her child from kindergarten on that he does not have to listen to any white lady teachers. I cannot relate to parents that think it is more important that their child has a new tattoo than school supplies. A parent that will send their child to school just to eat lunch and tell them to skip the rest of the day if they like.

    I *can* serve the child in the classroom. And I'll try, to a point, to serve his/her parent. But actually relating to some of these kids and their parents? I doubt I'll ever be able to.
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jun 22, 2012

    I know I felt like my teachers came from a different world because they had nice clothes, took vacations, and were just clearly...well, not poor. :)

    This study doesn't much surprise me, but like most, I still think it's nice to have a diverse group of educators. And by diverse I certainly don't mean only race.
     

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