The education gap you haven’t heard about

Can you remember an instance in your own education when a teacher or school administrator treated you unfairly or didn’t believe something you said? Do you remember how it made you feel? How it impacted your ability to learn from that educator? Almost everyone who was a student can think of at least one time when they lost trust in their school.

Now imagine you felt that way in school almost every day. Feelings of security, fairness, and compassion are keystones in creating a safe and equitable school learning environment for any student. And when students aren’t provided with those things it starts to create a “trust gap”.  Below, read a new article from the National Education Association’s EdJustice blog examining the “Trust Gap”, its disproportionate affect on students of color and a few ways to combat this growing phenomenon.

The ‘Trust Gap’ in schools…and how teachers can help close it.

If students of color don’t believe that school officials treat them fairly, a “trust gap” emerges that could impact college enrollment, even if they receive good grades, according to a new study.

What causes the “trust gap”? Extreme disparities in discipline and low expectations from teachers. Many students, particularly Black and Hispanic youths, develop a growing mistrust for authority once they perceive and experience these biases, says David Yeager, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of the new report, published in the journal Child Development.

“Perceived bias and mistrust reinforce each other,” says Yeager. “And like a stone rolling down a hill that triggers an avalanche, the loss of trust could accumulate behavioral consequences over time. Seeing and expecting injustice and disrespect, negatively stereotyped ethnic minority adolescents may disengage, defy authorities, underperform and act out.”


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