Our schools have long embraced the value of diversity in our schools on ethical and moral grounds. At the ground level, all of us have operated from the intuitive sense that there are many tangible benefits to diversity, although we might struggle to define them, precisely. Now, a research study just published by Teachers College, How Racially Diverse Schools and Classrooms Can Benefit All Students, coauthored by Amy Stuart Wells, Professor of Sociology
& Education at Teachers College, and doctoral students Lauren Fox
and Diana Cordova-Cobo., provides empirical evidence that students in diverse schools enjoy numerous benefits.
In short, the study concludes the following:
“A growing body of research suggests that the benefits of K-12 school
diversity indeed flow in all directions—to white and middle-class
students as well as to minority and low-income pupils,” the TC authors
write. More specifically, the report cites research showing that:
- Attending racially diverse schools is beneficial to all
students and is associated with smaller gaps in test scores among
students of different racial backgrounds, specifically due to increases
in black and/or Hispanic student achievement.
- Students of all races who attend racially integrated schools also
have higher SAT scores and are less likely to drop out than students in
segregated, high-poverty schools.
- Racially diverse educational institutions help young people
challenge stereotypes and their implicit biases toward people of
different racial or ethnic backgrounds. The research finds that such
biases can be harmful to both those who hold the biases and the targets
of these biases, causing both groups to be distracted from learning.
- Students' satisfaction and intellectual self-confidence increase
when educators tap into the educational benefits of diverse classrooms
by helping students challenge their assumptions and learn from more than
- Learning in integrated settings can also enhance students’ leadership skills.
- Integrating schools leads to more equitable access to important
resources such as structural facilities, highly qualified teachers,
challenging courses, private and public funding, and social and cultural
For a more detailed summary of the research, click on this link: