Posted on June 13, 2012

Black Teachers Don’t Make a Difference for Black Students?

Brande Victorian, Madame Noire, June 12, 2012

We often talk about the need for more black teachers, particularly males, in school systems across the country to help our kids excel, but according to a new study from the University of Houston, that desire may be baseless.

Walter Hunt, a  recent graduate from the University of Houston’s Executive Education Doctorate in Professional Leadership and a local assistant principal, says African American students don’t necessarily fare better when taught by African American teachers. When he examined the impact of African American teachers on African American eighth-graders in Texas Title I schools he found no significant relationship between their academic achievement and the percentage of African American teachers on campus.

At first glance, it would appear that teacher race doesn’t matter when addressing student achievement of minority students, but there are many layers involved when analyzing achievement of a middle-school student, such as racial identity, self-identity, age, involvement in school activities,” he said. “In this particular study, I was surprised to see that the campuses with more African-American teachers did not have the highest African-American student achievement. This just goes to show that having a positive impact on students is a complex, multi-layered process.


Hunt examined eighth-graders and teacher diversity in 198 Title I Texas schools because Title I is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act which provides additional funding for campuses serving children from low-income families. {snip}