Attitudes of a selected group of black and white secondary school students toward white and black teachers in a newly desegregated high school in Austin, Texas



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The crossover of teachers in newly desegregated school systems has produced problems of great concern. This situation is true of both black and white teachers. The purpose of this study was to determine from selected personality traits of teachers the degree in differences of attitudes of black and white secondary school students toward white and black teachers in recently desegregated schools, in order to make recommendations for effective use in teaching situations. In order to determine the racial attitudes of students toward teachers a student attitude inventory consisting of 27 statements was constructed. The $16 students participating in this study were 9th, 10th 11th and 12th graders randomly selected from scholastics of the Austin High School located in Austin, Texas. From a total of 516 answer sheets returned, any not marked white or black or presenting doubtful data were deleted, a net sample of 390 answer sheets were processed. All data were statistically analyzed by the multi-regression model. This correlational approach to validity offered several advantages. It provided an index, a validity coefficient R (or R[superscript 2]) that summarized the relationship between the total sum of the scores of predictors and the criterion score over the entire range of scores, and the prediction of an expected criterion variable score for each variable through use of the regression equation. The value of r could range from a positive one (plus 1.00) to a negative one (minus 1.00). The absolute value of the coefficient told the strength of the relationship, the higher the value the greater the correspondence between the two sets of scores. The output data represented the components, variables 2, 1, 6 and 8 in relation to the criterion variable number 30 (pro-white). The problem considered was that of predicting the pro-white teacher score V[subscript 30] from 20 scores of the questionnaire. The analysis showed the peak of predictive accuracy was reached using the four variables listed above. An interpretation of the relationship of these four variables and the criterion variable number 30 accounted for 13.8 per cent of the total shared variance. 1. White students preferred white teachers and black students preferred black teachers. 2. Male students preferred white teachers more than female students did. 3. Students who estimated their GPA to be on the lower level tended to prefer white teachers more than did those with higher GPA estimates. 4. Students who blamed the teacher when students did not follow instructions, tended to prefer black teachers more than white teachers. In summarizing the performance of the entire group for the top ten selected personality traits, the results are recorded as follows: 1. 22 per cent strongly disagreed with all variables. 2. 28 per cent disagreed, with all variables. 3. 33 per cent were neutral on all variables. 4. 11 per cent agreed, with all variables. 5. 6 per cent strongly agreed with all variables. All data clearly indicated that students of both races and sexes preferred to work with teachers under 30 years of age. Twelfth grade white females and 10th grade black girls preferred teachers over 30 years of age. No males had a preference for a teacher over 30 years of age. Students in general tended not to blame teachers if their instructions were not followed as given. However, among those male and female students that did agree that teachers were to blame, white males and black females agreed stronger than white females and black males. Students of both races and sexes tended to share similar opinions in regards to their classroom teachers. However, when race was a factor, the students in all situations—both blacks and whites—tended to disagree less with a trait deficiency among teachers of their own race, than students of another race. The age and sex factors were never stable enough to be predictable.