Equity & Diversity Report Roundup

Classroom Bias

By Sarah D. Sparks — January 05, 2016 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

If you’re a boy of color in elementary school, your likelihood of being suspended or missing class rises significantly if you are assigned to a teacher of another race.

American University researchers Seth Gershenson and Stephen Holt dug into how racial differences between teachers and students may play out in student behavior in a discussion paper for the German Institute for the Study of Labor. The researchers used state longitudinal administrative data from South Carolina to track nearly 990,000 elementary school students from 2006 to 2012.

While on average having a teacher of a different race slightly increased the average numbers of days a student was absent or the times he or she was suspended, the added risk was especially high for minority boys. A black boy was 30 percent more likely to be suspended when taught by a white woman than when taught by a black woman. Having a teacher of a different race accounted for one-third of the racial gap in suspensions, and one-sixth of the racial gap in chronic absenteeism.

The researchers said their findings suggest the need for interventions “that mitigate unconscious bias and generally improve the relationships between teachers and students and students’ families.”

A version of this article appeared in the January 06, 2016 edition of Education Week as Classroom Bias

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
Special Education Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table - Special Education: Proven Interventions for Academic Success
Special education should be a launchpad, not a label. Join the conversation on how schools can better support ALL students.
Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special education.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity More Schools Stock Tampons and Pads, But Access Is Still a Problem
Period products are becoming more commonplace in schools. But there are gaps in funding—and in access, a barrier for lower-income students.
7 min read
Photograph of hygienic tampons and a sanitary pad on a blue background.
iStock/Getty
Equity & Diversity A School Board Reinstated Confederate School Names. Could It Happen Elsewhere?
Shenandoah County's school board voted in May to reinstate two Confederate names. Researchers wonder if others will, too.
7 min read
A statue of confederate general Stonewall Jackson is removed on July 1, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Shenandoah County, Virginia's school board voted 5-1 early Friday, May 10, 2024, to rename Mountain View High School as Stonewall Jackson High School and Honey Run Elementary as Ashby Lee Elementary four years after the names had been removed.
A statue of confederate general Stonewall Jackson is removed on July 1, 2020, in Richmond, Va. The Shenandoah County, Va. school board voted 5-1 on May 10, 2024, to restore the names of Confederate leaders and soldiers to two schools, four years after the names had been removed.
Steve Helber/AP
Equity & Diversity How 9 Leaders Think About Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Their Schools
District and school leaders share their take on DEI and what it means for all students to experience inclusion and belonging.
6 min read
An illustration of six speech bubbles that are different in size and of varying shades of blue.
iStock/Getty
Equity & Diversity Opinion When Did We Become Disillusioned With Desegregation?
Forty years ago, the civil rights attorney and professor Derrick Bell diagnosed where the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education went wrong.
7 min read
Topeka, Kansas, USA: Afternoon sun shines on the school at the center of the Brown v Board of Education legal decision that ended educational segregation.
Matt Gush/iStock