Thursday, June 4, 2009

Race may have impact on teachers

ITHACA, N.Y. (UPI) -- A U.S. study found high-quality teachers may tend to leave schools that experience inflows of black students, researchers said.

Study author C. Kirabo Jackson of Cornell University said the study suggests a school's racial makeup may have a direct impact on the quality of its teachers.

"It's well established that schools with large minority populations tend to have lower quality teachers," Jackson said in a statement. "But it is unclear whether these schools are merely located in areas with a paucity of quality teachers, whether quality teachers avoid these schools because of the neighborhood or economic factors surrounding a school, or whether there is a direct relationship between student characteristics and teacher quality."

Jackson said the findings suggest it's not neighborhoods keeping high-quality teachers away.

"This is particularly sobering because it implies that, all else equal, black students will systematically receive lower quality instruction," Jackson said.

The study of the Charlotte-Mecklenberg school district in North Carolina ended its race-based busing program in 2002 and some schools had a large and sudden inflow of black students -- but the racial makeup of the neighborhood and economic factors were the same.

The study, published in the Journal of Labor Economics, found the black teachers were slightly more likely than white teachers to stay in the schools that experienced a black inflow. However, those black teachers who did leave black schools tended to be the highest qualified.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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