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A Kindergarten Teacher Like Me: The Role of Student-Teacher Race in Social-Emotional Development

Abstract

"Our nation's classrooms have become increasingly racially and ethnically diverse. Given these demographic changes, many policymakers and practitioners have expressed the need for increased attention to how teacher diversity might be linked to reducing racial/ethnic differences in teachers' ratings of social-emotional skills for students of color. Using the most recent nationally representative data, we investigated whether kindergarteners have different social-emotional ratings when they had a teacher whose racial/ethnic group was the same as their own. We found that having a teacher of the same race was unrelated to teachers' ratings of children's internalizing problem behaviors, interpersonal skills, approaches to learning, and self-control. However, students whose teachers' race/ethnicity matched their own had more favorable ratings of externalizing behaviors. Results are discussed in terms of implications for school disciplinary policies."

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