The impact of the teacher-student ethnic gap on the academic performance of minority students

This study explored the relationship between the difference in teacher and student ethnicity, "the ethnic gap," and teacher preparedness to support minority students' academic success. The study was set in an urban high school in which a majority of the student population was made up of minority students, while the teaching staff was predominately White. Although the teachers were deemed "highly qualified" and had been CLAD certified, their minority students continued to under perform. This study looked at teacher's own perceptions of their cultural and linguistic preparedness to meet the educational needs of their minority students. The qualitative design gathered survey data from a purposeful sampling of high school teachers in which they responded to five open-ended questions regarding the teacherstudent ethnic gap and how it was being addressed by teachers, the school, and the district. The results of the study confirmed that the teachers and district were aware of the ethnic gap, and that some educators were attempting to bridge it, but others were not implementing instructional strategies in their curriculum to meet the educational needs of minority students. In addition, the study revealed that teachers thought that they had not been sufficiently trained to bridge the ethnic gap. The conclusions of the study highlighted the need for majority teachers to become more understanding of the cultural and linguistic needs of their students.