Lead teacher, assistant teacher, and peer racial/ethnic match and child outcomes for Black children enrolled in enhanced high-quality early care and education programs

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Teacher-child racial match has been shown to benefit young Black children, but less is known about the degree to which the match is with the lead teacher or the assistant, and if the preschool racial context moderates this association. This study utilized existing data collected during the 2014–15 through 2018–19 school years in 20 high-quality preschools that enrolled children from households/families with low-income. Analyses of data from 2553 preschool-age Black children enrolled in 418 classrooms revealed that most Black children (82%) were enrolled in preschools with a majority (>=50%) of Black peers, and children in Black Majority preschools were more likely to experience teacher-child racial match with lead and assistant teachers. Racial match with lead and/or assistant teachers were associated with teacher demographic and beliefs differences but not differences in classroom instructional support or child outcomes. Black Majority preschool enrollment was also associated with more problem-behaviors but not other outcomes. However, within Black Majority schools, behavior concerns were reduced when the assistant teacher was a racial match and child initiative was higher when both the teachers were a match. In sum, the effect of teacher-child racial match for Black children should be considered jointly with co-occurring ecological contexts that typify the proximal effects of systemic racism like the preschool racial composition.

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Early Childhood Research Quarterly

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