Segregation within integrated schools: Racially disproportionate student-teacher assignments in middle school

Tracey A. Benson, Amber Bryant, Tuba Gezer


Racial segregation has been an ongoing issue in American education and one of the leading contributors to the racial achievement gap. Prior to the Brown v. Board decision of 1954, Black Americans were legally relegated to substandard schools and educational opportunities. Post-Brown, racial segregation continues to manifest as a result of de facto segregation and second-generation segregation. Moreover, the predominantly White teaching force – a negative consequence of desegregation – has been linked to poorer outcomes for Black and Latino students. Our study examines trends in racially disproportionate assignment of Black and Latino students to less experienced teachers than their White counterparts. Specifically, our analysis illustrates statistically significant trends in the assignment of less experienced teachers to Black and Latino students in middle school math over several years. This analysis contributes to the recent research phenomenon of measuring the cumulative pattern of racially disproportionate teacher-student assignments over time as a particularly effective means of understanding the effects of systematic and sustained inequalities on academic achievement. Across several grades and content areas of instruction, we found that the race of students was related to the teaching experience of their teachers. Our findings illustrate the negative impacts of racial segregation on students of color and supports the need for more intervention and administrative intentions regarding teacher-student assignments and racial equity in schools.


academic achievement gap; racial segregation; disproportionality; teacher-student assignment

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Copyright (c) 2020 Tracey A. Benson, Amber Bryant, Tuba Gezer


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