From the Chicago Tribune, a story on University of Chicago research that shows that elementary school girls do poorly in math if their teacher is female (and has math issues). From the story:
"The findings are the product of a year-long study of 17 first- and second-grade teachers and 65 girls and 52 boys who were their students. The researchers found that boys' math performance was not related to their teacher's math anxiety while girls' math achievement was affected."
"At the beginning of the year, the students' achievement was unrelated to their teachers' level of math anxiety. By the end of the year, however, the more anxious their female teachers were about math, the more likely girls--but not boys--were to endorse the view that boys are better at math. Girls who bought into the stereotype scored six points lower in math achievement than other students."
Why is this?
"We are not sure whether it's something overt, whether it's non-verbal behavior or perhaps (teachers are) not spending much time on the subject," said Susan Levine, a psychology and human development professor and co-author of the study "Female Teachers' Math Anxiety Affects Girls' Math Achievement," published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this month."
"It's not just a teacher's knowledge of the subject, but there's something about their feeling about the discipline," Levine said."