Research shows that students, especially boys, benefit when teachers share their race or gender. Yet most teachers are white women.
Sept. 10, 2018
Zara Gibbon helps a new sixth grader at Animo Westside Charter Middle School in Los Angeles. A majority of teachers in American schools are white women.
As students have returned to school, they have been greeted by teachers who, more likely than not, are white women. That means many students will be continuing to see teachers who are a different gender than they are, and a different skin color.
Does it matter? Yes, according to a significant body of research: Students tend to benefit from having teachers who look like them, especially nonwhite students.
The homogeneity of teachers is probably one of the contributors, the research suggests, to the stubborn gender and race gaps in student achievement: Over all, girls outperform boys, and white students outperform those who are black and Hispanic.
Yet the teacher work force is becoming more female: 77 percent of teachers in public and private elementary and high schools are women, up from 71 percent three decades ago. The teaching force has grown more racially diverse in that period, but it’s still 80 percent white, down from 87 percent.
(Excerpted from NY Times, 9 /11/18)