Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Relationship between Race-Congruent Students and Teachers: Does Racial Discrimination Exist?

Nguyen, My (2018): The Relationship between Race-Congruent Students and Teachers: Does Racial Discrimination Exist?

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Abstract

This paper explores the role of teacher race/ethnicity in the teacher-perceived relationship with early elementary school students. Employing a model with both student and teacher fixed effects, I discover a positive link between the racial/ethnic match and the teacher-reported relationship with students. Specifically, minority students tend to have a closer and more positive relationship 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 relationship with students is not prompted by teachers favoring their own kind or discriminating against opposite-race students. I show that these estimates 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 relationship between young children with non-parental adults in their early stages of life, these findings have crucial policy implications.

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