Are White Teachers To Blame For the Racial Educational Achievement Gap?

Could black teachers teaching black students be the answer to closing the racial educational achievement gap?  A recent article by the Root explores the fact that black students still fall behind white students on every maker of school quality and academic criterion.  Black students are also more likely to be suspended, expelled and arrested.  While school funding, testing and parental involvement are the factors most discussed when it comes to solving these issues, one that is often overlooked is the fact that black students perform better academically, socially and emotionally when they are taught by teachers of color.

A study conducted by Ana Villegas and Jacqueline Irvine entitled, “Diversifying the Teaching Force: An Examination of Major Arguments,” backs up this fact.  The Center for American Progress has also issued a report that states that, “Teachers of color are more likely to work and remain in high-poverty, hard-to-staff urban schools and districts than their white counterparts,” and “teachers of color are known to be personally committed to the success of children of color.”  When this is coupled with the fact that, “white teachers often…have low expectations for their nonwhite students, and that those views negatively impact academic achievement,” it is no surprise that the educational achievement gap is not closing.

The 2014 school year marked a turning point in American public education with children of color now being the majority of students.  Despite six decades having passed since the Brown v Board of Education decision, schools are increasingly segregated, The New Republic reports that, “Today, even in schools that have achieved some level of diversity, there’s evidence that students of different races are still being treated differently.  Substantial scholarly evidence indicates that teachers – especially white teachers – evaluate black students’ behavior and academic potential more negatively than those of white students.”

The research clearly indicates that the relevant question regarding the educational achievement gap revolves around children of color needing teachers who share their cultural backgrounds and why America has not made increasing the diversity of teachers a top priority in dealing with educational disparities.



23 Comment

  1. If all of the teachers are white then white teachers should take the blame however if some of the teachers are minorities they are to blame as well. This is not a racial situation this in an institutional situation. Fire the school board members, the principals and the teachers who are teaching just for a check and not concentration on the students learning. A parent should know if their child can read or write according to his or her grade level. If the parent does not care then the teachers will let their child become a prisoner of the state. I know that parents have to work hard and are tired when they come home but they made the decision to have the child so man up or woman up and do your job and be a loving and caring parent. Go to the school at least once a month and check on how your child is doing. You can do this if you will. No excuse

  2. The historically Black university where I taught graduates more Black engineers than any other university in the country. I attended all-white schools most of my life and I know personally how Black students can slip through the cracks. If it weren't for my parents I would have never thought to attend one of the best universities in the country – Stanford – which I did and earned two degrees from. My parents let me know what was possible but I did the work.
    When I taught university I let my students who were all Black know what was possible and they did splendidly. Teaching at an HBCU was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Based on my experience I think having Black teachers can make a difference if the teacher cares. Many at my university did but , yes, there were some who were just drawing a paycheck and some who had a negative attitude towards Black students which I always thought was worse than facing discrimination from white teachers.

  3. My take on this is that regardless of race, if you're a no good teacher then you're gonna have no good students!! I had great teachers of damn near every race & got an excellent education!!! :*

  4. This is stupid me and my brother went to predominately white schools when we moved from Newark I was 10 my brother was 12 we were taught by white teachers and we were good students that was our only option if we came home with report cards full of d’s and f’s would have been hell to pay.

  5. This is stupid me and my brother went to predominately white schools when we moved from Newoark I was 10 my brother was 12 we were taught by white teachers and we were good students that was our only option if we came home with report cards full of d’s and f’s would have been hell to pay.

    • You shouldnt think that your experience speaks for all. two of my children went to predominantly white schools and there were many issues with my boy’s white teachers. i am a teacher and i know first hand that many white teachers dont think that children of color can achieve academically. that is one of the main reasons why my wife and i home school our younger sons.

  6. remember, BLACKS MARCHED FOR integration. Oh how the black man pleaded. White people cannot win with the black race. White people MUST end this forced integration system!

    Black males are non-occupational ranking males i.e. they cannot stratify their own “group” by occupational titles. Ergo, they cannot produce wealth. No wealth =no tax base. Since white males are the ones that produce the businesses , the jobs (occupational titles) and therefore the tax base (federal, state, local), the black man, to survive in the white man’s system, must feed off the white race — like a baby clinging to his mommy’s nipple. It is the will of the creator that human “groups” be self-reliant. Blacks in America have NEVER achieved such a state. Civil rights laws i.e. compulsory integration laws… are preventing blacks from achieving self-reliance as a distinct people in America.

    Since black males are non-occupational ranking males, the black race MUST have a homeland in America. Once the blacks are in their homeland…they can then achieve a state of self-reliance.


    • Unfortunately, you are right, with a few exceptions. The main problem in Black America is that most don’t feel validated unless they intermingle with Whites, even if it’s only to pass a dollar from Black hands to Whites’ or to those who don’t look Black.

      Black folk hate each other!

  7. What about a good teacher be they black or white. Also too, there are middle class black teachers that do not relate to some black children. So, it is the quality and compassion of the teacher that counts – black or white.

  8. But the achiement gap is lingering and there are more white teachers than black and this is a legitimate question to ask.

  9. keep in mind that white teachers are theoretically teaching the children who will ultimately compete with their own child. now think about that one…

  10. that may be true. but white teachers tend to treat black children much different than they do white children.

  11. white teachers are training the children who will ultimately compete with their own children. now let that marinate on your mind… i have noticed that some black parents think that white teachers will teach better than black teachers. they fail to realize that some/most white teachers treat black children differently than white children. we need more black teachers, bottom line.

  12. It is every parent’s primary responsibility to educate his or her own children – not the teachers, be they Black or White.

  13. Are white teachers to blame for the racial educational achievement gap? YES!!! If Black children had NO white teachers, and all Black teachers, they'd be much better students. Their graduation rates would certainly go up. Bring qualified Black teachers into large auditoriums or gymnasiums and teach these kids. Have a jumbotron. Hire assistants to collect work, and monitor behavior, etc. Let's stop making excuses and take control of these schools! I was a college sophomore in 1980 before I had a Black teacher. I signed up for the class just to have a Black teacher! I would have cared more about learning and had better self-esteem if I had Black teachers when I was in K-12. I'm okay now, but some of the kids of today won't be. If I mentioned some of the trauma I endured from white teachers, I'd cause nightmares. I've witnessed white teachers and principals in action over the years. They are harmful more often than you'd realize. The best of them are not very good in my opinion. Radical changes need to be made.

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