From the Field

Teachers Are People Too: Examining Racial Bias

Teachers work in a profession that serves many children of color, which means they must have at least some faith in these children’s potential to succeed. One could therefore expect teachers to have lower levels of bias compared to similarly educated Americans. Researchers Jordan G. Starck, Travis Riddle, Stacey Sinclair, and Natasha Warikoo, examined this further with two studies that looked at teachers’ explicit and implicit racial bias, comparing them to adults with similar characteristics.

Their results, outlined in Teachers Are People Too: Examining the Racial Bias of Teachers Compared to Other American Adults, showed that teachers’ racial attitudes largely reflect those held within their broader society. The researchers found only a .1 percent difference  between the percentage of teachers and other adults with some amount of implicit or explicit bias. These results suggest schools need to provide teachers with racial bias training.

By Rachel Grich

Photo courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action.