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Access to Teachers of Color and Outcomes for Black and Hispanic Students: Evidence from Representative Bureaucracy
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Teachers of color are the most effective educators of students of color—or are they? Policies have sought to improve the educational outcomes of students of color by hiring and retaining teachers of color, and they have reportedly been successful in recruiting teachers. Previous research has found that employing more Black and Hispanic teachers promotes equity, provides cultural bridges from school to home, and creates a more stable workforce in high-minority, low-socioeconomic schools where teachers of color are more likely to work and to stay. Nonetheless, do these policies deliver on the promise of improving student performance? The articles presented here use the political science theory of representative bureaucracy to examine whether or not increasing the percentage of Black and Hispanic teachers in schools has a positive impact on academic outcomes for Black and Hispanic students, respectively. Representative bureaucracy suggests that a government agency, such as a public school, that reflects the clientele it serves on measurable demographic characteristics will coproduce better outcomes for its clients. Past studies in political science and education have indicated that having more teachers of color in schools is positively related to improved academic outcomes for students of color. The three articles in this study use ordinary least squares regression with school fixed effects to explore this question. The data come from traditional public and charter schools in Texas during the academic years 2006-07 to 2010-11. The relationship between teacher variables at the campus and district levels and various student performance measures are examined. The evidence presented here does not strongly support the argument that having more teachers of color has a direct and positive relationship with outcomes for students of color, although there are a few exceptions and the results are sensitive to the variables and methods employed. Ultimately, a potential implication of representative bureaucracy and these policies is that teachers of color are the most capable of effectively educating students of color. In contrast, these findings suggest that it is the responsibility of all teachers to meet the educational needs of all children, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Subjectteachers of color
students of color
Perez, Paige Cleveland (2016). Access to Teachers of Color and Outcomes for Black and Hispanic Students: Evidence from Representative Bureaucracy. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from
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