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Why Black Teachers Matter

Black teachers are critical resources for our children and schools. Pairing experimental data with rich measures of teacher mindsets and practices and varied student outcomes, I document that: (1) Black teachers in upper-elementary grades have large effects on the self-efficacy and classroom engagement of their Black students (0.7 and 0.8 SD) but not for non-Black students, potentially driven by role modeling; (2) race-matching effects on Black students’ social-emotional learning explain a moderate to large share of effects on more distal outcomes, including absences and test scores; (3) Black teachers also benefit the test scores (0.2 SD) and absences (roughly 20% decrease) of all students—no matter their race/ethnicity—that often persist many years later into high school; and (4) in addition to potential role-modeling channels, Black teachers bring unique mindsets and practices to their work (e.g., preparation for and differentiated instruction, growth mindset beliefs, well-organized classrooms) that mediate a moderate to large share of their effects on student outcomes. These findings help bridge the quantitative “teacher like me” literature with theoretical discussion and qualitative exploration on why Black teachers matter.

race/ethnicity matching, teacher quality, culturally responsive teaching, experiment
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Blazar, David. (). Why Black Teachers Matter. (EdWorkingPaper: 21-501). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University:

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