Do students learn best when their teachers are of the same race? (“Teacher Diversity and Learning,” The New York Times, Sep. 23). That seems to be the widespread assumption. But I question it.
It’s based on the belief that all teachers of the same race bring the same attitudes to class about their students, whether of the same race or of a different race. Stereotyping teachers is the real problem. The truth is that no race is a monolith. Students of color are no more alike than white students. By the same token, black teachers are no more alike than white teachers.
I’m not saying that greater efforts shouldn’t be made to increase teacher diversity. As I pointed out in a letter to the editor published in The New York Times on Sep. 23, nonwhite teachers leave the classroom at a higher rate than other teachers because of a lack of support and collegiality.
In the final analysis, however, knowledge of subject matter and excellence in pedagogy are more likely to translate into instructional effectiveness than race alone.
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