Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Racial/Ethnic Match and Student-Teacher Relationships

Le, Kien and Nguyen, My (2019): Racial/Ethnic Match and Student-Teacher Relationships.

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Abstract

This paper explores the role of teacher race/ethnicity in the teacher-perceived relationships with early elementary school students. Employing a model with both student and teacher fixed effects, we discover a positive link between the racial/ethnic match and the teacherreported relationships with students. Specifically, minority students tend to have closer and more positive relationships with their teachers than white students when they are taught by a minority teacher. Adapted rank-based tests of discrimination reveal that the favorable teacher-reported relationships with students are not prompted by teachers favoring their own kind or discriminating against opposite-race students. We further show that the estimated favorable impacts are driven by minority students reacting positively when they have a minority teacher but adversely once assigned to a white teacher, which is consistent with the role model effect. Given the importance of the relationships between young children and non-parental adults in their early stages of life, these findings have crucial policy implications.

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