Lack of African-American Male Educators Is Killing Public Education

By Roosevelt Mitchell, III | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), November 17, 2016 | Go to article overview

Lack of African-American Male Educators Is Killing Public Education


Roosevelt Mitchell, III, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


According to researchers Ana Maria Villegas and Jacqueline Jordan Irvine, minority teachers, as role models, improved the self-worth of minority students. Others found that a diverse teaching population improved academic achievement for minorities along with the educational climate for white students.

Educators and the makers of policy have spoken about the need to diversify the teaching population for a number of years. A recent study by Yale University further explains why America's classrooms need more African-American male teachers. The study compared the unconscious stereotypes of black and white preschool teachers toward students. The results of the study yielded that teachers who care for young children judge those kids' behaviors differently based on race or implicit bias.

Implicit bias is the bias in judgment and/or behavior that results from subtle cognitive processes. To a large extent the ultimate effect of implicit bias for African-American students is the widening of the discipline gap and achievement gap.

Recent estimates reveal that one in three students will be suspended between kindergarten and 12th grade. African-American preschool children are overall 3.6 times as likely to be suspended as white preschoolers. Across all grade levels, African-American students are nearly four times as likely to be suspended and almost twice as likely to be expelled as white students.

Loss of classroom instruction time damages student performance. For example, a study by Attendance Works found that missing three days of school in the month before taking the National Assessment of Educational Progress translated into fourth graders scoring a full grade level lower in reading on this test. New research shows that higher suspension rates are closely correlated with higher dropout and delinquency rates, and that they have tremendous economic costs for the suspended students, as well as for society as a whole. …

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