Teacher Experience and Preparation Led to Stronger Black and Hispanic Achievement, Study Says

Christina Samuels

Employing experienced and fully-credentialed teachers is one of the major factors contributing to California school districts that are producing higher-than-expected academic achievement among their Hispanic, black, and white students, says a new report from the Learning Policy Institute.

In the report California’s Positive Outliers: Districts Beating the Odds, released Thursday, the Palo Alto-based think tank identified California school systems where students were outperforming on state tests their peers in other school districts who come from families with similar racial/ethnic backgrounds, income, and education levels. The study was limited to 435 districts that had at least 200 white students and 200 black or Hispanic students.

Teacher certification was strongly associated with achievement for students of all races and ethnicities. The higher the percentage of teachers in a district working under emergency permits, waivers or intern credentials, the lower the average achievement for all students‐with students of color facing a larger negative impact than white students. A teacher’s length of time in the profession was also positively associated with achievement for black and Hispanic students.

The Price of Teacher Mulligans: “I didn’t stop to ask myself then what would happen to all the kids who’d been left in the basement with the teacher who couldn’t teach” – Michelle Obama – Michelle Obama