With Just One Black Teacher, Black Students More Likely to Graduate

Low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are significantly more likely to graduate high school and consider attending college, concludes a new study co-authored by a Johns Hopkins University economist.

Having at least one black teacher in third through fifth grades reduced a black student’s probability of dropping out of school by 29 percent, the study found. For very low-income black boys, the results are even greater – their chance of dropping out fell 39 percent.

Previous research has shown there are short-term benefits to pairing students with teachers of the same race, but this study, a new working paper published by the Institute of Labor Economics, demonstrates the positive impacts of having just one of these teachers can continue over many years.