Preschool teachers’ implicit bias impacts black boys most, study says

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Preschool teachers look for disruptive behavior where they expect it — and they expect it most from black boys, new research from the Yale Child Study Center suggests.

The study’s findings are especially important in the context of federal data showing that black boys are more likely to get suspended or expelled from preschool than other children.

Implicit bias — which was defined as “automatic and unconscious stereotypes that drive people to behave and make decisions in certain ways” — was central to the new study: “Do Early Educators’ Implicit Biases Regarding Sex and Race Relate to Behavior Expectations and Recommendations of Preschool Expulsions and Suspensions?

“Preschool expulsions and the disproportionate expulsion of black boys have gained attention in recent years, but little has been done to understand the underlying causes behind this issue,” the study released this week said. And, as lead researcher Walter Gilliam said he expected, the study uncovered significant evidence of implicit bias among preschool teachers.

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