There is no profession more important to the world than teachers.
A good one can change your child’s life forever.
But what if your teachers don’t look like you, and your school would rather suspend or expel you than teach you anything?
This is the reality for Black boys in the majority of schools in America. There is a Black male teacher shortage in the U.S. and unless we hyper-focus on the problem it will never get solved.
In America, Black people make up about 14% of the population, but only 7% of teachers are Black. The numbers of Black male teachers are even more disparaging. According to District Administration, only 2% of public school teachers are Black men. What is even more depressing is that Black educators have extremely positive and profound effects on Black students, it’s just not enough of them, especially Black men.
In a recent study, The National Bureau of Economic Research found that “Black students randomly assigned to at least one Black teacher in grades K-3 are 9 percentage points (13%) more likely to graduate from high school and 6 percentage points (19%) more likely to enroll in college than their same-school, same-race peers [who did not have a Black teacher].”
Sadly not enough Black students aren’t getting the opportunity to be led by a teacher who looks like them. Black folks found more opportunities as teachers when schools were still segregated in the first half of the 20th century.
For the Black male teachers that have found a way, they say they’re under-appreciated and overlooked.
“I really feel like we’re skipped over — point-blank, period,” educator Marvin Burton Jr. told ABC News. “The way that the [education] system is laid out, I am always looked to as a disciplinarian, as the one that has the classroom management skills, as the one that is, you know, kind of firm-footed.”
Dr. Travis J. Bristol, the associate professor of teacher education and education policy at the University of California’s School of Education, told ABC News that he believes the school-to-prison pipeline has drastic effects on Black boys becoming teachers.
According to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Black children have been disproportionately suspended and expelled since preschool, with boys receiving more than 75% of out-of-school suspensions.
“The Black male teacher shortage will end when we as a country begin to learn how to love Black boys,” said Bristol. “You can’t recruit people or create pathways for people in the profession until we stop suspending and expelling them before they even have an opportunity to enter the profession.”
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