University of Georgia study: Teachers of color reduce African-American teen pregnancy rate

8 Nov

Moi wrote in New Harvard study about impact of teachers:
The Guide to Teacher Quality lists several key attributes of a quality teacher:

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT TEACHER QUALITY
• Experience is very important. The ability of a new teacher to support student learning
increases greatly during his/her first year of teaching and continues to grow through at least the
first several years of teaching (Clotfelter, Ladd & Vigdor, 2007; Clotfelter, Ladd & Vigdor, 2004;
Hanushek et al., 1998).
• Teacher attrition matters. Districts and schools with relatively high rates of teacher
attrition are likely to have more inexperienced teachers and, as a result, instructional quality
and student learning suffer (Alliance for Quality Teaching, 2008).
• Ability matters. Teachers with higher scores on college admission or licensure tests as well
as those from colleges with more selective admission practices are better able to support student
learning (Gitomer, 2007; Rice, 2003; Wayne and Youngs, 2003; Reichardt, 2001; Ferguson
& Ladd, 1996; Greenwald, Hedges & Laine, 1996).
• Teachers’ subject matter knowledge helps students learn. Students learn when their
teacher knows the subject, particularly in secondary science and mathematics (Floden &
Meniketti, 2006; Rice, 2003; Wayne and Youngs, 2003; Reichardt, 2001).
• Preparation and training in how to teach makes a difference. Knowing how to teach
improves student learning, particularly when a teacher is in his/her first years of teaching (Rice,
2003; Allen, 2003; Boyd, Grossman, Lankford, Loeb & Wyckoff, 2005).
• Teacher diversity may also be important. There is emerging evidence that students learn
better from teachers of similar racial and ethnic background (Dee, 2004; Dee, 2001; Hanushek
et al. 1998).
One of the important attributes is the subject matter knowledge of the teacher. These findings are particularly important in light of the study, The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: TeacherValue-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood by Raj Chetty, Harvard University and NBER , John N. Friedman, Harvard University and NBER, and Jonah E. Rockoff, Columbia University and NBER Manuscript (NBER WP17699)
https://drwilda.com/2012/01/08/new-harvard-study-about-impact-of-teachers/

Ideally, parents would talk with their children about sexuality and pregnancy issues. Many children don’t have family support and teachers often fill the role of parent for many children.

April Reese Sorrow reported in the PhysOrg article, Minority teachers reduce African-American teen pregnancy rates:

Nationwide, 34 percent of girls get pregnant at least once before age 20, according to a study for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. In Georgia, 86 out of every 1,000 African-American girls age 15-19 and 58 of 1,000 white teens become pregnant. According to new research from the University of Georgia, increasing minority teachers can improve these health outcomes.

“African-American teachers drive down African-American teenage pregnancy rates,” said Vicky Wilkins, who co-authored a paper on the subject appearing in the October issue of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.

Looking at Georgia public school data from 143 districts from 2002-2006, Wilkins and former graduate student Danielle Atkins compared teacher representation in high schools and teen pregnancy rates reported by district to the Georgia Department of Community Health. They found increasing the number of minority teachers decreases teen pregnancy among those populations.

“You do not see a decrease in teen pregnancy for African-American teenagers until you reach a critical mass of African-American teacher representation,” said Wilkins, who is an associate professor of public administration and policy in the UGA School of Public and International Affairs. “We identified 17.6 percent as the tipping point where the percentage of African-American teachers started to significantly lower the African-American teen pregnancy rate.”

Study findings show a 10 percent increase in African-American teachers would result in six fewer African-American teen pregnancies per district. Districts with 20 to 29 percent African-American teachers resulted in a significant decrease in teen pregnancy, 18.8 fewer pregnancies per 1,000 students.

“The number of pregnancies continues to drop as representation increases,” Wilkins said. “When there are few African-American teachers in a school, we observe no effect on African-American teen pregnancies.”

An increase in African-American teachers has no effect on teenage pregnancy rates among white students. Similarly, representation of white teachers has no effect onteenage pregnancy among white students. The results also reveal increased African-American student population, unemployment and higher white teen pregnancy rates are all associated with higher African-American pregnancy rates.

To further understand the influence of minority teacher representation, Wilkins and Atkins interviewed a convenience sample of 11 high school teachers and one school district administrator. Teachers represented several high schools, in both majority-majority and majority-minority settings. Asking about the influence teachers can have on student behaviors both inside and outside the classroom, discussions with teachers and the administrator offered insights into the influence that teachers have in educational and non-educational decisions of their students.
Interview results reveal race-match was important for role modeling with regard to non-educational outcomes.

“All of the African-American female teachers we spoke with shared example after example of both male and female African-American students asking questions about relationship choices and decisions,” Wilkins said.

Both male and female students would ask for advice on premarital sex, how to treat a girlfriend or boyfriend and about parenting. These questions often lead to frank discussions about contraception, pregnancy and risky behaviors.
http://phys.org/news/2013-11-minority-teachers-african-american-teen-pregnancy.html

Here is the press release from the University of Georgia:

Minority teachers reduce African-American teen pregnancy rates
November 5, 2013
Athens, Ga. – Nationwide, 34 percent of girls get pregnant at least once before age 20, according to a study for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. In Georgia, 86 out of every 1,000 African-American girls age 15-19 and 58 of 1,000 white teens become pregnant. According to new research from the University of Georgia, increasing minority teachers can improve these health outcomes.
“African-American teachers drive down African-American teenage pregnancy rates,” said Vicky Wilkins, who co-authored a paper on the subject appearing in the October issue of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.
Looking at Georgia public school data from 143 districts from 2002-2006, Wilkins and former graduate student Danielle Atkins compared teacher representation in high schools and teen pregnancy rates reported by district to the Georgia Department of Community Health. They found increasing the number of minority teachers decreases teen pregnancy among those populations.
“You do not see a decrease in teen pregnancy for African-American teenagers until you reach a critical mass of African-American teacher representation,” said Wilkins, who is an associate professor of public administration and policy in the UGA School of Public and International Affairs. “We identified 17.6 percent as the tipping point where the percentage of African-American teachers started to significantly lower the African-American teen pregnancy rate.”
Study findings show a 10 percent increase in African-American teachers would result in six fewer African-American teen pregnancies per district. Districts with 20 to 29 percent African-American teachers resulted in a significant decrease in teen pregnancy, 18.8 fewer pregnancies per 1,000 students.
“The number of pregnancies continues to drop as representation increases,” Wilkins said. “When there are few African-American teachers in a school, we observe no effect on African-American teen pregnancies.”
An increase in African-American teachers has no effect on teenage pregnancy rates among white students. Similarly, representation of white teachers has no effect on teenage pregnancy among white students. The results also reveal increased African-American student population, unemployment and higher white teen pregnancy rates are all associated with higher African-American pregnancy rates.
To further understand the influence of minority teacher representation, Wilkins and Atkins interviewed a convenience sample of 11 high school teachers and one school district administrator. Teachers represented several high schools, in both majority-majority and majority-minority settings. Asking about the influence teachers can have on student behaviors both inside and outside the classroom, discussions with teachers and the administrator offered insights into the influence that teachers have in educational and non-educational decisions of their students.
Interview results reveal race-match was important for role modeling with regard to non-educational outcomes.
“All of the African-American female teachers we spoke with shared example after example of both male and female African-American students asking questions about relationship choices and decisions,” Wilkins said.
Both male and female students would ask for advice on premarital sex, how to treat a girlfriend or boyfriend and about parenting. These questions often lead to frank discussions about contraception, pregnancy and risky behaviors.
“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,” Wilkins said.
Wilkins has done previous research looking at how minority teachers increase educational benefits for minority students.
“I think we have to consider the broad impacts of minority teacher representation. It is an important consideration for hiring and training of teachers, and we have to be aware of the role that community and culture play in discussions of risky behaviors,” Wilkins said.
The full article is available online,http://jpart.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/02/14/jopart.mut001.abstract.

Every population of kids is different and they arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Schools and teachers must be accountable, but there should be various measures of judging teacher effectiveness for a particular population of children.

Related:

Is there a ‘model minority’ ?? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/is-there-a-model-minority/

Dropout prevention: More schools offering daycare for students https://drwilda.com/tag/high-schools-offer-day-care-services-for-teen-parents-to-prevent-dropouts/

Talking to your teen about risky behaviors https://drwilda.com/2012/06/07/talking-to-your-teen-about-risky-behaviors/

Many young people don’t know they are infected with HIV https://drwilda.com/tag/disproportionate-numbers-of-young-people-have-hiv-dont-know-it/

Title IX also mandates access to education for pregnant students https://drwilda.com/2012/06/19/title-ix-also-mandates-access-to-education-for-pregnant-students/

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