Bias in expectations (attitudes) and in opportunities (treatment) can be conscious and explicit or it can be unconscious and implicit. For example, through socialization we learn stereotypes about different race/ethnic groups and different social classes. As a result, we often consciously or unconsciously accept these labels and associate positive or negative characteristics and have preferences for some individuals/groups (e.g., white people and middle and upper classes) and aversions to other individuals/groups (e.g., black and brown people and lower classes). We have the ability to question and not accept these stereotypes and to not act on them, but only if we are conscious of the ways it affects our ideas, choices, outlooks, and actions.
Expressions of explicit bias can include labeling and discrimination as a result of conscious thought. But, expressions of implicit bias can also result in labeling and discrimination. A fairly common example of this is seen in studies that show that white people will frequently associate criminality with black people without even realizing they are doing it. One example in education, involves black boys being seen as troublemakers and suspended at much higher rates than white boys. Once this practice of unfair treatment based on race becomes part of the normal expectations and behaviors of people in an organization it is institutionalized racism. These biased policies or practices are built into the structures of various social institutions, like education, and can continue to operate even without the active support and maintenance of individuals. Thus, implicit biases in expectations based on race and class can result in unequal institutional treatment and opportunities for black and brown students and lower class students in K-12 and postsecondary education.
In today’s society, biases in educational expectations based on race and class are often implicit and not as easy to document and describe by region or location like with school funding and college affordability. Even research on the resulting biases in educational opportunities, like teacher preparation, curriculum offerings, teaching and learning styles, tracking, counseling, and disciplinary practices, are usually not state or district specific.
We compiled reports from national, non-profit research and policy institutes and from peer-reviewed journals and books that examine biases in educational expectations (e.g., different attitudes about students’ abilities and their academic and career paths) and their impact on educational opportunities (e.g., different access to high quality academic experiences, resources, and guidance). Below are general sources on bias in education followed by specific sources on biases in K-12 educational expectations and opportunities and biases in college educational expectations and opportunities.
BIASES IN EDUCATIONAL EXPECTATIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES
K-12 EDUCATIONAL EXPECTATIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES
The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers. IZA Discussion Papers, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). Seth Gershenson, Cassandra M. D. Hart, Constance A. Lindsay, and Nicholas W. Papageorge. 2017.
The Implicit Prejudiced Attitudes of Teachers: Relations to Teacher Expectations and the Ethnic Achievement Gap. American Educational Research Journal. Linda Van den Bergh, Eddie Denessen, Lisette Hornstra, Marinus Voeten, and Rob W. Holland. June 2010.
Preparing Teachers for Diversity: Examination of Teacher Certification and Program Accreditation Standards in the 50 States and Washington, DC. Equity & Excellence in Education Journal. Motoko Akiba, Karen Sunday Cockrell, Juanita Cleaver Simmons, Seunghee Han, and Geetika Agarwal. November 15, 2010.
Reconceptualizing Teacher Education as a Social Justice Undertaking: Underscoring the Urgency for Critical Multiculturalism in Early Childhood Education. Childhood Education. Dilys Schoorman. July 25, 2012.
Rethink, Revise, React. Using an Anti-Bias Curriculum to Move Beyond the Usual. Childhood Education Journal. Isabel Killoran, Marisa Panaroni, Sally Rivers, Yasmin Razack, Diane Vetter, and Dorothy Tymon. September 5, 2012
The Science of Equality in Education the Impact of Implicit Bias, Racial Anxiety, and Stereotype Threat on Student Outcomes. Perception Institute. Rachel D. Godsil, Linda R. Tropp, Phillip A. Goff, john a. powell, and Jessica MacFarlane. February 2017.
COLLEGE EDUCATIONAL EXPECTATIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES
What we know about Community College Low-Income and Minority Student Outcomes. Teachers College: Community College Research Center. Thomas Bailey, Davis Jenkins, and D. Timothy Leinbach. January 2005.
Broadening the Benefits of Dual Enrollment: Reaching Underachieving and Underrepresented Students with Career-Focused Programs. Teachers College: Community College Research Center. Katherine L. Hughes, Olga Rodriguez, Linsey Edwards, and Clive Belfield. July 2012.
The meaning of money: Perceptual differences between college counselors and low-income families about college costs and financial aid. American Behavioral Scientist
Black Students in 21st Century Higher Education: A Closer Look at For-Profit and Community Colleges (Editor’s Commentary). The Journal of Negro Education. Constance Iloh and Ivory A. Toldson. Summer 2013.
School Counseling Intervention Research on College Readiness, College Access, and Postsecondary Success: A 10-Year Content Analysis of Peer-Reviewed Research. Journal of College Access. George McMahon, Catherine Griffith, Melissa Mariani, and Brett Zyromski. 2017.