The Role of Teacher Race on the Academic Outcomes of K-12 Black Students

Mitchell Siewert Olson


Beginning with the inception of our educational system in the United States, there has been an academic disparity that has persisted between white and Black students. Initially this could be attributed to the racist laws that only allowed students of a certain race to even be educated. Even though our educational system has been integrated and students of all races and cultures have access to the same schools, this academic disparity still exists. The purpose of this literature review is to understand the role that teacher race plays in the academic outcomes of Black students. A review of the available literature indicates that a teacher’s race plays a significant role in this continued disparity. This can be seen in the difference in academic outcomes when Black students are taught by Black teachers, compared to when they are taught by white teachers. It has also been found that white teachers hold both implicit and explicit racial biases that impact the academic outcomes of their Black students. Lastly, research indicates that zero-tolerance policies and classroom discipline methods have led to an overwhelming amount of Black students being removed from the classroom and being taken out of their learning environments. To address this inequality in educational opportunities, school administrators and teachers have to take time to identify and address their own biases, investigate their disciplinary procedures and how they impact their diverse students, and make efforts to increase the amount of Black and diverse voices that students hear and learn from during their academic experience.