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Most existing studies have been conducted in states like North Carolina or Tennessee, which are home to comparatively smaller Latino populations.“It’s a glaring omission for a variety of reasons, especially because that’s the segment of the student population that’s growing the fastest,” Dan Goldhaber, the director of the Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER), told The 74.
Controlling for a variety of student characteristics, researchers found in a 2013 study that white teachers view black students more negatively on the whole than white or Latino students, who are themselves viewed more negatively than Asian students. Another study from Kisida and Egalite found that black students were much more likely to describe themselves as happy in school, feel cared for by their teachers, and highly rate the communication between themselves and their teacher if that teacher was black.
The flip side of the expectations game can be seen in the issue of school discipline.
Multiple studies have suggested that white teachers simply have lower expectations of black students than of white students.
That may explain why black students are significantly less likely to be referred to gifted programs in the absence of a black teacher — even when their academic work would merit referral.
Partially, this is because Latinos are still much less likely to graduate from high school and college than whites, blacks, and Asians, and therefore are less likely to become teachers.
But even with a huge and growing mismatch between Latino teachers and students, we have little evidence on its effect.While Latinos account for one-quarter of all American students, they make up less than 10 percent of all teachers.Immigration from South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean will be the main driver of demographic change in the United States for the foreseeable future, and our education system isn’t keeping up with the times.Without some proof that academic and professional opportunities are open to them, the theory goes, many will never take even small steps toward social mobility.The other hypothesis revolves around the power of expectations, and how they differ among racial groups.Though the issue of racial and gender representation in the classroom is not a new one, the past decade has seen a wealth of new evidence on how students react to being taught by people who look like them.Although the magnitude of the effects can differ, numerous research studies into the question of racial matching (the pairing of a given student with a teacher of the same racial or ethnic background) point to the same conclusion: All things being equal, black students do better when they’ve been taught by black teachers.Tracking Florida students between grades 3 and 10, the team found that white and black students made slight gains in both reading and math after being assigned to a same-race teacher (Asian/Pacific Island students assigned to same-race teachers realized gains in math alone).Test score improvements like those are impressive, but they hardly settle the issue.If the literature is fairly clear on one point — that black students benefit from black teachers — it is much quieter on another: What about other forms of matching?Specifically, not enough inquiry has been conducted into the question of how well Latino students fare when assigned to Latino teachers.