April 5, 2022 — The National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) Board Member Dr. Travis J. Bristol, associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education, partnered with Matthew Shirrell of George Washington University and Tolani A. Britton of the University of California, Berkeley, to develop and share a research report titled, “The Effects of Student-Teacher Ethnoracial Matching on Exclusionary Discipline for Asian American, Black, and Latinx Students: Evidence From New York City.”
Exclusionary discipline impacts student academic success and civic engagement. Bristol, Britton, and Shirrell examined 10 years of New York City Department of Education data to understand if student and teacher ethnoracial matching decreased the likelihood of exclusionary discipline. As part of their research, they found that “when Black and Latinx students in grades 4-8 are assigned greater proportions of teachers of the same race, they are significantly less likely to be suspended from school. Asian American students are also less likely to be suspended when they have a same-race teacher, but to a less statistically significant degree.”
While previous research found that Black students assigned to Black teachers experienced fewer disciplinary actions, particularly suspensions, this research also highlights the importance of same-race teachers for students from other racial and ethnic groups. The authors note that there are benefits of same-race teachers, who might be able to build more positive relationships with these students and enact more culturally relevant practices, as well as noting these effects could also be products of bias on the part of white teachers. This research highlights the importance of diversifying the teacher workforce as well as building the skills of all teachers to be culturally and linguistically responsive and learning from teachers of color to understand what they are doing that is more effective than their white counterparts.