by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
In “Does Teacher Diversity Matter in Student Learning?” New York Times reporter Claire Cain Miller writes,
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.
And yet, charter schools designed to serve black students (and hire black administrators and teachers to teach them) are attacked by those who claim that charters harm children by perpetuating racial segregation.
Perhaps the racial and ethnic homogeneity of some charter schools is more of an opportunity than a barrier to raising student achievement.