Sunday, April 13, 2008

That Has To Be The Explanation....

The Post speculates,
Why is it that teachers were more apt to see problems with the behavior or character of minority students? One board member, according to The Post's Michael Alison Chandler, was "perplexed" that disparities in measures of character education mirrored the gaps in academic achievement. No one should be surprised that students don't do well when their teachers expect less of them.
Yes, that must be it - all the teachers are racist and expect less of minority students, and that's what causes behavior problems in class.

It couldn't be something as mundane as, say, kids whose parents have little interest in school performance raising kids who share their values. Could it? Because you'll find the same correlation in predominantly white school districts as well.


  1. It would be very interesting to see how this study was structured and what other factors (beyond race/ethnicity) were taken into account. I would guess that if they focused on the educational level/background of the parents they would find a closer correlation to the attitudes of the children regarding education than they have found focusing solely (I assume) on race.

    It would also be interesting to see if the ethnic/cultural background of the teachers influenced the way they scored students of different ethnic/cultural backgrounds.

    . . . and then there is the whole issue of whether or not "expecting less" of students causes them to score poorly on a standardized test that the teacher doesn't score . . .


  2. It doesn't sound like there was a true study - just a survey that showed a correlation between race and classroom performance and perceived conduct. For a meaningful study, I think you would need third party observers in the classroom, although if data about teacher race was collected they should be able to compare teacher observations within the existing data set.

    I do think that teacher expectations can boost or depress student performance, but in my experience that's going to be either an across-the-board effect, or something that affects only a few students (perhaps even an individual).

    Granted, although I have experience as a student and (in the increasingly distant past) substitute teacher, and by proxy with the teachers in my family, in schools with significant economic diversity, I don't have much direct experience with schools with significant ethnic diversity.