Minority Teachers Reduce African-American Teen Pregnancy Rates

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According to a recent study conducted by the University of Georgia, increasing the number of African-American teachers in the classroom can decrease teen pregnancy rates among African-American students.

Vicky Wilkins, who co-authored the paper that appeared in the October issue of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory with former UGA grad student Danielle Atkins, found that a 10 percent increase in African-American teachers would result in six fewer teen pregnancies per district, while districts with 20-29 percent African-American teachers saw 18.8 fewer pregnancies per 1,000 students.

Through discussions with a convenience sample of 11 teachers and administrators, Wilkins was able to credit this correlation to the importance of race-match in students choosing a role model with regard to non-educational outcomes. Wilkins stated, “Our discussions convinced us that, although any teacher can serve as a role model, African-American students seek out role models that look like them, particularly with regard to non-educational issues.”

The study also found that an increase in African-American or white teachers had no effect on pregnancy rates amongst white teenagers.

Wilkins has done previous research on how minority teachers increase educational benefits for minority students.

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