Category Archives: Diversity Resources

Articles and research on diversity in education

Future Teachers Mistake Black Students as ‘Angry’ More Than White Students, Study Shows

A new study finds that prospective teachers, most of whom are white, are more likely to identify Black children than white children as angry, even when they’re not.

Madeline Will reported on the study in the July 8 issue of Education Week.

The study examines teacher-candidates’ “racialized anger bias”—a term coined by the researchers that means seeing anger when none exists. One of the researchers, Amy Halberstadt, had previously done a study that looked at how teacher-candidates perceived the facial expressions of Black adults.

“In that first study, we discovered what Black people already know largely—that people perceive Black adults as angry even when they’re not,” said Halberstadt, who is a professor of psychology at North Carolina State University. “[In this new study], we found that even older elementary school children are also experiencing racialized anger bias. With prospective teachers who care deeply for children, this is still happening.”

Future Teachers Tested

In this study, researchers studied 178 prospective teachers who were enrolled in education programs at three southeastern universities. Most of the future teachers in the study were white women, which is in line with the national teaching force.

Both white candidates and candidates of color were equally likely to misidentify Black children as angry, Halberstadt said.

Participants were shown 72 short video clips of child actors’ facial expressions and were asked to identify the emotion being displayed. The clips were equally divided between Black and white children and between boys and girls. The children in the clips were between the ages of 9 and 13.

Racialized Anger Bias

Researchers recorded the number of errors that participants made, especially seeing anger when there was none. The study notes that the findings were “clear and robust”: Prospective teachers were 1.36 times more likely to exhibit racialized anger bias against Black children than against white children and incorrectly view the Black child as angry.

Future teachers were 1.74 times more likely to incorrectly identify a Black girl’s facial expression as angry than a white girl’s. Participants were 1.16 times more likely to mistake a Black boy’s expression as angry than a white boy’s.

Black Boys More Likely Perceived as Angry

Overall, Black boys were the most likely to be incorrectly assumed to be angry by future teachers, Halberstadt said. White girls were the least likely. Past research has found that adults view Black girls, aged 5 to 14, as less innocent and more adult-like than white girls.

Researchers said they would expect to see even higher levels of anger bias in the actual classroom, when teachers have to make split-second judgments of the situation.

Schools Need More Diverse Teachers, Better Training

Editor’s Note: Anti-racist education was the topic of a recent NPR broadcast. Following is a report about the broadcast from the NPR website as well as a partial transcript of the broadcast interview.

In the wake of ongoing protests for racial justice, young people in America are demanding change from their schools.

Petitions are circulating all over the country in support of creating anti-racist education. One petition, written by alumni of Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix, Ariz., calls on the district to “review and advance its curriculum, goals, and objectives as they related to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

“Education is the most valuable tool to dismantle racism and create a more equitable society,” the petition reads.

Sumaiya DeLane, along with Khadijah Adamu and Samiza Palmer, started a petition in Montgomery County, Md., where they went to school.

“These are longstanding issues that need urgent solutions,” DeLane says. “It needs to be total transformation versus reform.”

Palmer says she doesn’t think there can be “a truly anti-racist curriculum unless the teachers have gone through that same sort of training themselves.”

Travis Bristol, an assistant professor of education at the University of California at Berkeley, agrees. He says that for students to receive an anti-racist education, teachers need better training and students need more diverse teachers.

All of this is in service to what he calls “the American project” of, in part, forming a more perfect union.

“I believe that to begin the work of forming a more perfect union requires us to enact anti-racist teaching, but it also requires us to prepare teachers to think about how to design anti-racist teaching,” says Bristol, who is also a former New York City teacher. “And that is what gives me hope.”

Here are excerpts from his interview on All Things Considered.

When we say anti-racist education, or anti-racist teaching, what does that mean to you?

So for me, anti-racist teaching means a fundamental disruption of the way in which teaching and learning happens in our schools today: It centers whiteness and white people. And so we have to start with the preparation of teachers.

You looked closely at how diverse teachers can reshape education and how, in particular, Black teachers can play a role. Why is having Black teachers inside classrooms important — not just for Black students to get a quality education, but for all children to get a quality education?

There is convincing evidence that Black children perform better in school that they are able to persist through high school that they are less likely to get suspended and expelled if they have a Black teacher compared to a white teacher. So there’s clear evidence that for Black students there is this added value for Black teachers. There is a growing body of evidence that for white students, that there is a preference for having a teacher of color when compared to a white teacher.

But at the same time, I understand that you found school systems have a really tough time retaining African American teachers. Why?

In my own research, I have found that school districts have done a remarkable job of recruiting Black teachers. But they have, in many ways, placed at the feet of Black teachers the undue expectation that they can somehow fundamentally address 400 years of oppression.

School districts concentrate Black teachers in the most challenging schools, without giving those Black teachers the necessary resources to address the 400 years of marginalization and subjugation.

And so because Black teachers are placed in the most challenging schools without the necessary resources to teach Black children, Black teachers are leaving their schools, not their students. They’re leaving the poor working conditions, the conditions that do not give them the tools, the resources, the ongoing training to teach Black children.

And so out of frustration, while doing good work, while raising test scores, while allowing Black children to persist, they also leave because they recognize, at the end of the day, that they do not have the tools and resources to do the work of teaching.

Please visit to listen to the full interview.
Jonaki Mehta, Elena Burnett and Justine Kenin produced and edited the audio version of this story.

School System Gets Grant To Tackle Diversity, Bias

The New Haven Independent reports (July 9, 2020) that the New Haven public school system will launch two new programs aimed at increasing the number of teachers of color and also to promote awareness of racial bias among school administrators.

Grants from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund will support the initiatives.

The grants come at a time where 72.5 percent of New Haven’s teachers identify as white, compared to 12.9 percent of students who identify as white.

David Addams, executive director of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, explained the reason for the programs this way:

“You have a school system that is burdened with centuries of explicit and implicit racism which has yet to ever fully grasp how to educate children of color, how to represent the history and contributions of people of color in its curriculum,” he said. “There needed to be some really intentional work to address both of these issues.”

The programs are the culmination of more than a year of work by the District Equity Leadership Team (DELT), formed in the 2017-2018 school year to help districts become more conscious about promoting equity, with funding from the State Education Resource Center and the Graustein Memorial Fund. DELT applied for the two grants from the fund more than a year ago.

“As a community, New Haven is ready for these constructive conversations about change,” said the school system’s leader for the DELT, Carolyn Ross-Lee, who co- authored the grant application. “Obviously it is hard work. It’s easy to say and sometimes hard to do. But we know right now that we are poised and ready to engage in the work.” Ross-Lee also serves as the school system’s Title IX coordinator and climate coordinator.

The first grant is for minority talent development and recruitment. It provides $100,000 for the public school system to establish a teacher certification program that will support predominantly Latinx and African-American paraprofessionals in becoming certified teachers.

Some money will also go supporting new teachers by covering some of their rent and providing homeownership training and financial literacy training for them.