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Black Teachers Positively Affect Black Students: Study

Black charter school students are far more likely to have a Black teacher than their peers enrolled in traditional public schools, a new study by an American University professor found.

The study, “Student-Teacher Race Match in Charter and Traditional Public Schools,” authored by Seth Gershenson, an associate professor in AU’s Department of Public Administration and Policy, was published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative educational think tank.

In his work, Gershenson used student-level data from 2006 to 2013 for all public-school students in North Carolina in the third through fifth grades. The analysis yielded a handful of findings, including that the state’s charter schools have 35 percent more Black teachers than traditional public schools. In addition, Black students in charter schools were about 50 percent more likely to have a Black teacher than their traditional public-school counterparts.

The study also shows how students of color perform better academically when they have a teacher of the same race or ethnic group.

Gershenson’s study further notes that while there’s room for improvement when it comes to teacher diversity and academic achievement in both traditional public and charter schools, the former might learn from their charter school counterparts when it comes to boosting the number of teachers of color they hire.

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