Schools' Racial Mix, Students' Optimism, and the Black-White and Latino-White Achievement Gaps Academic Article uri icon


  • This article examines how schools' racial and ethnic mix of students and teachers influences black, white, and Latino students' occupational expectations, educational aspirations, and concrete attitudes. Findings from multilevel-model analyses of data from the National Education Longitudinal Study show that Latinos' and blacks' beliefs are more optimistic and more pro-school in segregated-minority schools, especially when these schools also employ many minority teachers. Further analyses indicate that the positive effects of segregated-minority schools on blacks' and Latinos' beliefs reduce the black-white and Latino-white gaps in achievement. These findings suggest that teachers and administrators in segregated-white schools need to address how they lower minority students' beliefs and that segregated-minority schools can be improved by hiring many minority teachers.

published proceedings

  • Sociology of Education

altmetric score

  • 3.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Goldsmith, P. A

citation count

  • 121

complete list of authors

  • Goldsmith, Pat António

publication date

  • April 2004