Black Students Need Role Models in the Classroom

Growing up, I had only a small number of teachers who looked like me, and none before middle school.

My first Black teacher was Mrs. Skipworth, who taught my seventh-grade science class.

I didn’t have my first Black male teacher until ninth grade, and Mr. Coleman ended up being my favorite teacher in high school.

A recent study found that it’s important for Black students to have teachers who look like them. Researchers from American University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of California at Davis found that having one Black teacher in third, fourth or fifth grade reduced the probability of Black boys of low-income backgrounds from dropping out of high school by 39 percent. The study also found that both Black boys and girls in high school who had a Black teacher had stronger expectations of going to college.