Failed attempts to minimize the Black teacher shortage continues to place schools at the risk of future civil rights litigation from concerned parents and community activist. At the heart of this initiative is to do what is best for the diverse student populations of many schools and assume that White teachers are incapable of helping Black students. Given the available pool of possible candidates, schools can only minimize the perception of racism associated with the Black teacher shortage by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships.

It is surmised that Black students have a greater possibility at benefiting from schools when a Black teacher becomes part of their education transition. According to the article, The Repercussions of the Black Teacher Shortage, recent studies indicate the benefits of Black students having a Black teacher. “Having teachers of color allows students to see people who look like them in positions of influence, according to Ashley McCall of Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural Academy Center Chicago, Illinois

McCall’s perception is backed by new academic research. A recent study published by the Institute of Labor Economics found that if a low-income Black male student in third, fourth, or fifth grade has a Black teacher, he is 39 percent less likely to drop out of high school. And if a low-income Black male or female student of the same age has a Black teacher (especially of the same gender), they are more likely to plan to attend a four-year college. Females were 19 percent more likely to express this intent, while males were 29 percent more likely. The benefit came from having just one Black teacher; having two or more black teachers did not alter the results.

The problem with the Black teacher shortage is that teachers of color comprise only 16 percent of the teacher force while students of color comprise of newly 50 percent of the public school population. Furthermore, Black teachers are also more likely to be clustered in high-need, economically disadvantaged urban schools which further complicates the Black teacher shortage. 

What alternatives can schools implement to help eliminate perceptions associated with the Black teacher shortage?

The advantage that Black teachers possess is the ability of develop positive classroom relationships with Black students. Black students prefer warm and supportive teachers and believe that teachers create an optimum learning environment when they care about and bond with their students. Students who perceive that teachers have favorable feelings toward them have higher achievement levels when teachers have positive views toward them. Children who have positive feelings regarding teachers have higher achievement levels.

Black teachers are more likely to have positive interactions with Black students. Classroom interaction studies have found teachers discriminate against students who are not White, male, and middle class. White teachers create classroom problems when they interpret culture as a limitation to student progress and can benefit from a process where they develop positive racial relationships with Black students.

Developing positive relationships with students provides benefits for schools, teachers, and students. Having positive and caring relationships in schools increases resilience and protects children from academic failure, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and destructive behavior and violence. Long-term teacher-student relationships result in increased teacher job satisfaction. Teachers who have positive feelings toward their students are more likely to have students reciprocate those positive feelings. Teachers who develop positive and personal relationships with students may prevent psychological development problems in their students.

Positive relationships at schools and in the classroom are in many ways the prerequisites for effective learning and behavior. Students and teachers who are warm, compassionate, and friendly toward one another in the classroom have the potential to improve instruction and learning. Students are more willing to develop positive relationships with teachers who tend to form close friendships with their students. White teachers can surmount the Black teacher shortage by building positive teacher-student classroom relationships promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships.


Related Articles

Report: New York schools need more black, Latino teachers

‘Diversity’:  The Major Obstacle in Strengthening Teacher Quality

Report: New York teacher diversity falls short


All the best,

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.

PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034


          Author of:

  • Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships
  • Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
  • The Raccelerate Formula App
  • Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education
  • The Ultimate Guide to Classroom Racism Management

cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant classroom management cultural diversity consultant cultural diversity consultant raccelerate formula

“Dr. Campbell did his part and now all we have to do is run with it.”  

~ Tom Coleman ~ Woodstown-Pilesgrove Public Schools Superintendent of Schools

“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.

~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor

“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”

~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President


cultural diversity consultant

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *