Public education has a persistent and well-documented issue: the achievement gap between white students and students of color.
Researchers have studied disparities in areas such as test scores and discipline rates to identify ways to close the gap. But what if matching the race of a student and their teacher could contribute to a solution?
A recent study — part of a series of working papers published by the National Bureau of Economic Research — shows that having just one black teacher not only lowers black students' high school dropout rates and increases their desire to go to college, but also can make them more likely to enroll in college.
According to the results, black students who have just one black teacher in elementary school are 13 percent more likely to enroll in college than their peers who didn't have any black teachers. Students who have two black teachers are 32 percent more likely to go to college.
It's an update to a study NPR reported on in 2017 that found that black students who had just one black teacher could help them stay in school. With the addition of college enrollment data, the analysis shows that the impact of black teachers on black students reaches even further than researchers initially thought.