Race of Principals, Teachers Correlates with Pay, Attrition

Teachers who are the same race as their principals are not only less likely to leave their job, but also get paid more than teachers of other races at their schools, The University of Missouri News Bureau reports. According to a study conducted at by professors from UM's Truman School of Public Affairs and the College of Arts and Science and from Vanderbilt University, when teachers share the race of their principals, they also report higher levels of job satisfaction and feel more "protected" by their administrators.

Although the conclusions were true for teachers of any race, the connection was particularly strong when the school principal was African American.

Lael Keiser and Jason Grissom drew their conclusions after analyzing data from the Schools and Staffing Survey and the Teacher Follow-up Survey. The surveys were both administered by the National Center for Education Statistics.

The analysis also uncovered that while white teachers with white principals additionally benefited from more additional money outside their regular salary "such as stipends for coaching or sponsoring clubs," there wasn't such discrepancy under principals of any other race.

The study also showed that African-American teachers reported much higher rates of intangible benefits, such as administrative support and encouragement, classroom autonomy and recognition for a good job performance, when they worked for an African-American principal. The rates were roughly the same for all teachers under white principals.

The results of the study are not wholly surprising when you also consider a study conducted in 2004 that showed that students perform better if they are taught by teachers of the same race. The study, authored by Thomas Dee, a professor of Public Policy at the University of Virginia, found that students who shared race with their teachers, did better on state standardized tests than students who did not. A similar study conducted in 2002, which focused only on Hispanic students and teachers, showed the same results.

In light of all these findings, Virginia Beach School District, which reports the highest discrepancy between the percentage of minority teachers that work in its classroom and the percentage of minority students who attend its classes, is now taking steps to add more balance to those numbers, the Virgina-Pilot reports.

The School Board has made it a priority to diversify the teaching force, said Todd Davidson, one of two black board members. That's part of the division's goal to close the achievement gap between black male students and their peers.

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