Black Teachers Help Keep Black Boys Out of Special Education


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By Aziah Siid, Word in Black

A new study finds that Black male elementary school students with Black teachers are less likely to be identified for special education.

New study finds Black male elementary students assigned to Black teachers are less likely to end up in special education.
(Pexels Photo by RDNE Stock Project)

In education, it’s an uncomfortable fact: the teaching workforce is overwhelmingly white and female, particularly in grades K-12. Black men in an elementary school classroom, statistics show, are few and far between. 

At the same time, studies show, Black boys make up a disproportionate number of children assigned to special-education classes – a component, experts say, in the schools-to-prison pipeline.

Now, a new study has found that Black male elementary school students matched to Black teachers are less likely to be identified for special education services. 

The study, conducted jointly by researchers from the University of North Carolina and the University of California-Davis, shed new light on the persistent problem of Black students misidentified as learning disabled or disciplinary problems. But it also underscores the need to increase recruitment of Black male teachers, who make up just 1.3% of the 3.8 million public school teachers in the U.S.

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Read about the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) 80 years of fighting for the advancement of Black education.

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