According to a new study conducted by Johns Hopkins and American University researchers, white teachers and Black teachers have a different opinion about Black students, showing that when asked about the same student, white teachers expect less success academically from Black students than Black teachers do.

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The gap shows that a white teacher is 30 percent less likely to believe that the student will graduate from a four-year college or university and 40 percent less likely to believe the student will graduate from high school. A number that is even greater for Black male students.

Based on data found in the Education Longitudinal Study conducted in 2002, the conclusions are a part of a much larger research project on the effects of teacher expectations on student outcomes.


“What we find is that white teachers and Black teachers systematically disagree about the exact same student,” says Nicholas Papageorge, co-author of the study and a Johns Hopkins university economist.

“If I’m a teacher and decide that a student isn’t any good, I may be communicating that to the student,” Papageorge continues. “A teacher telling a student they’re not smart will weigh heavily on how that student feels about their future and perhaps the effort they put into doing well in school.”

While the research is not conclusive and does not yet determine a direct correlation between teacher expectations and student outcomes, the data does further confirm the presence of vast racial biases within the American education system, and once more raises the question regarding a lack of teacher diversity throughout the nation.

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