Does it Matter if Teachers and Schools Match the Student?: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Problem Behaviors

Littisha A Bates, Arizona State University
Jennifer E. Glick, Arizona State University

Closing the racial achievement gap motivates current education policy debates but there is little agreement as to the source of these gaps and the extent to which they can be ameliorated through education policy. We address one dimension of these debates by focusing on disparities in teachers’ ratings of young children’s behaviors in the first few years of formal schooling. The analyses go beyond the focus on Blacks and whites by incorporating other groups. While Black students receive worse behavioral assessments than whites, Asian students receive better ratings. We ask whether school composition alters the relationship between teacher-student race matching and racial/ethnic differences in reported behavior problems. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort dataset, we illustrate the importance of teacher-student race matching for diminishing racial differences in the assessment of problem behaviors. We also find that these results hold net of the school composition.

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Presented in Session 140: Inequalities in Early Education