No Child Left Behind? New Study Says Minority Students Have Less Effective Teachers

April 15, 2014  |  

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This is really a lesson on separate and unequal. Not only do low-income students — who are generally of color — have less experienced teachers, but also less effective teachers, according to a new study.

The Center For American Progress report examined the evaluation scores of teachers in low-income as compared to those working in affluent districts in both Massachusetts and Louisiana.

What it found was alarming. Teacher evaluations in Massachusetts and Louisiana ranked teachers based on measures such as student scores on standardized tests and effectiveness during classroom observations.

Researchers found that in Louisiana “a student in a school in the highest-poverty quartile is almost three times as likely to be taught by a teacher rated ineffective as a student in a school in the lowest-poverty quartile,” reports The Huffington Post.

And schools with a large minority student bodies are more than twice as likely to have an ineffective teacher than students in schools with fewer minorities.

Looking at Massachusetts, students in high-poverty schools are three times as likely to have a teacher ranked as “unsatisfactory” than students in low-poverty schools, the report notes.

Another Center For American Progress report looked at the reasons behind the unequal distribution of teachers. And even though President Bush mandate No Child Left Behind requested that states to develop plans to ensure the equitable distribution of teachers, subsequent waivers allowed states to be flexible on these requirements.

“Regardless of how it is measured, teacher quality is not distributed equitably across schools and districts. Poor students and students of color are less likely to get well-qualified or high-value teachers than students from higher-income families or students who are white,” says the report.

Having  ineffective teachers can affect the academic future of a child who already comes from a low-income background. We have to do better.

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