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High school role models and minority college achievement

Scott Delhommer

Economics of Education Review, 2022, vol. 87, issue C

Abstract: Large racial differences persist in college enrollment and major choice, which may be exacerbated by the racial distribution of high school teachers. In this paper, I present the first evidence that matching high school students with same-race teachers improves the students’ college enrollment. To address selection and the sorting of students and teachers, I use detailed Texas administrative data on classroom assignment, exploiting variation in student and teacher race within the same course, year, and school, eliminating 99% of observed same-race sorting. Race-matching raises minority students’ course performance as well as improves longer-term outcomes like high school graduation and college enrollment. Black and Hispanic students matching with a same-race teacher in a given subject also become more likely to major in that subject in college with strong effects for STEM majors. Finally, I find much smaller race-matching for White students, suggesting policies to make the teaching population more representative would benefit minority students with minimal negative spillovers to the White student population.

Keywords: Underrepresented minorities; Minority achievement; Racial matching; Minority teachers; Same-race teacher; Texas (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 I23 I24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2021.102222

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