Home » HBCU-trained teachers, Black or white, more effective educators of Black students, study finds

HBCU-trained teachers, Black or white, more effective educators of Black students, study finds

by The Grio

BOWIE, Md. (AP) — Surrounded by kindergarteners, Lana Scott held up a card with upper and lower case Ys, dotted with pictures of words that started with that letter: Yo-yo. Yak. Yacht.

“What sound does Y make?” Scott asked a boy. Head down, he mumbled: “Yuh.” Instead of moving on, she gave him a nudge.

“Say it confident, because you know it,” she urged. “Be confident in your answer because you know it.”

He sat up and sounded it out again, louder this time. Scott smiled and turned her attention to the other kids in her group session.

As a student teacher from Bowie State University, a historically Black institution, Scott said she has learned to build deep connections with students. The school, Whitehall Elementary, is filled with teachers and administrators who graduated from Bowie State. Classrooms refer to themselves as families, and posters on the wall ask children to reflect on what makes a good classmate.

HBCUs play an outsize role in producing teachers of color in the U.S., where only 7% of teachers are Black, compared with 15% of students. Of all Black teachers nationwide, nearly half are graduates of an HBCU.

Having teachers who look like them is crucial for young Americans. Research has found Black students who have at least one Black teacher are more likely to graduate from high school and less likely to be suspended or expelled. Some new research suggests the training found at HBCUs may be part of what makes an effective teacher.

A recent study of elementary school students in North Carolina found Black students performed better in math when taught by an HBCU-educated teacher.

“There’s something to be said for the environment that’s cultivated, the way they connect with their students, the inspiration, the vulnerability that they may have with their students,” said Stanford University graduate student Lavar Edmonds, who conducted the study.


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