Students who have teachers who look like them do better in school, study finds

Posted at 6:00 AM, Oct 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-10 06:00:05-04

Walking down the hallway, Khalid Nicholson sees Principal Young and immediately goes into their secret handshake.

He considers him to be one of his role models.

“I picked Mr. Young because he’s a good person, a good principal, and a good friend,” he said.

He’s a friend who keeps the 6th grader at Woodbury Elementary school, focused.

“I like learning here at school,” he said as he walked into class.

A new study shows that can be a major factor to a student’s success.

“Some of these kids come to us with no male role models. None,” said Danny Young, Khalid’s Principal at Woodbury Elementary School.”

The SAGE Journal found when students have teachers of the same race, they not only were more likely to graduate but also reported feeling more cared for and interested in their schoolwork.

“It’s so nice to have minority males walk through the hallways that can make an impact on not only on African American kids, but all kids,” said Principal Young.

But it’s hard to come by. In the U.S., students of color make up more than 40 percent of public schools, but teachers of color only match that by 18 percent.

“You got to look at it more so as to the impact you’re making and the reward you’re providing to all the kids,” Principal Young said.

A reward like he’s seeing in 12-year-old Khalid, who’s not messing around about his studies.

“When I get home, I go home and I do my homework, I have to do all my homework first, and then I can do everything else later.”

The Shaker Heights School District is currently working with a university here in Ohio, whom they’re not willing to disclose until all the details have been confirmed, to create a pipeline for a diverse range of teachers, like African American males, to encourage more representation.