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Racial Representation and Socialization in Bureaucratic Organizational Structures

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Organizational scholars employing the theory of representative bureaucracy in their research have found that when public school teacher demographics mirror those of their students, teachers positively affect student performance. Little is known, however, about how organizational socialization affects positive representational effects on student outcomes. Teachers, however, are socialized differently into the organizational structure, largely through organizational social norms based on various professional aspects. This article analyzes the impact of professional socialization on representativeness by teachers’ credentials, employment status, and education levels. Using Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) elementary school data during the 2012–2014 school years, results show that representational effects differ depending on dimensions of student outcomes, and socialization moderating effects vary on the relationship between teacher representation and performance outcomes. Socialization positively moderates the teacher’s representational effect on student outcomes in terms of teachers with advanced degrees, full credentials, and tenure, which depend on the type of school. Charter schools exhibit the positive socialization effect of tenure status, whereas traditional schools show the positive effect of advanced degrees and full credentials. This research enhances our knowledge of the different socialization aspects and how they differ between charter and traditional schools as well as its impact on representation in highly diverse urban elementary schools, contributing to both theory and practice.

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