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Study: Black Teachers Decrease the Dropout Rate for Black Students

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: Dave Einsel/Getty Images

A new study by a group of researchers at John Hopkins University concluded that black students gain a significantly higher chance of graduating high school and attending college by having black teachers in their lives starting in elementary school.

According to a Wednesday (April 5th) press release, which was published on the John Hopkins University website, this new study’s research team consisted of Seth Gershenson, an assistant professor of public policy at American University; Cassandra M. D. Hart of University of California, Davis; and Constance A. Lindsay of American University.

The study’s co-author is Nicholas Papageorge, an economics professor at John Hopkins University. The study findings were published in a journal for the Institute of Labor Economics.

“Black students matched to black teachers have been shown to have higher test scores but we wanted to know if these student-teacher racial matches had longer-lasting benefits,” Papageorge said in an interview. “We found the answer is a resounding yes,” he continued.

Papageorge’s observational agendas during this study were particularly partial to young, underprivileged black boys.

“We’re seeing spending just one year with a teacher of the same race can move the dial on one of the most frustratingly persistent gaps in educational attainment — that of low-income black boys,” Papageorge adds.

“It not only moves the dial, it moves the dial in a powerful way,” he continued.

The John Hopkins University research team originally analyzed around 100,000 black students who began third grade in North Carolina Public Schools from 2001 to 2005.

“If having a teacher with high expectations for you matters in high school, imagine how much it matters in the third grade,” Papageorge also said.

“Many of these kids can’t imagine being an educated person and perhaps that’s because they’ve never seen one that looks like them. Then, they get to spend a whole year with one. This one black teacher can change a student’s entire future outlook,” he concluded.

For more information and a step by step guide on how to transition your children and family to homeschooling,

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