In education, it’s an uncomfortable fact: the teaching workforce is overwhelmingly white and female, particularly in grades K-12. Black men in an elementary school classroom, statistics show, are few and far between. 

At the same time, studies show, Black boys make up a disproportionate number of children assigned to special-education classes – a component, experts say, in the schools-to-prison pipeline.

Now, a new study has found that Black male elementary school students matched to Black teachers are less likely to be identified for special education services. 

The study, conducted jointly by researchers from the University of North Carolina and the University of California-Davis, shed new light on the persistent problem of Black students misidentified as learning disabled or disciplinary problems. But it also underscores the need to increase recruitment of Black male teachers, who make up just 1.3% of the 3.8 million public school teachers in the U.S. 

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Aziah Siid

Word in Black!

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