Black Male Teachers Matter, For Students And Communities
By Lyric Prince
Black males are only 2% of teachers in the U.S.
More than 70% of Black Millennials support school choice
Environmental factors, and how to improve them, start with providing safer spaces for both teachers and students of color to learn. Currently, more than 70% of Black Millennials support school choice, with good reason. Charters often have better resources and pay than public school teachers, who nationally average $50,00 a year, and curriculum flexibility for students. Can increased recruiting efforts for male minority teachers improve educational outcomes for Black youth?
Why This Matters: The catchphrase “A mind is a terrible thing to waste” especially applies to the current state of Black children in our communities. Over the last ten years, juvenile detention rates have fallen over 54%. While the rate has dropped for white children, it has risen for Black youth, increasing the disparity between the two by 22%. Black males (the most incarcerated demographic in the U.S.) are only 2% of teachers in the U.S. and are often cast as disciplinarians instead of role models or educators. As a result, many of them feel that they are contributing to the school to prison pipeline and decide to quit rather than continue teaching.
Current trends are not encouraging, while the percentage of Latinx teachers have increased by a single percentage point in 2019 from 2018, Black teachers have been at 7% since 2012. While schools can be a safe haven for students of all backgrounds, Black students are more likely to live and study under economic pressure. It’s also important to note that resources such as counselors or after school tutors are almost always underfunded and over-policed at inner-city institutions that need them the most.
Due to the aforementioned issues, the criminalization of Black children is starting at a younger age, and the lack of teacher diversity could be its leading cause. Last week, police officers arrested a six-year-old in Florida for throwing a tantrum in her teacher’s class. There are many other stories of Black children being punished more than other races of children by k-12 teachers, which as of 2019, are 80% white.
Situational Awareness: It is very clear that our communities need better infrastructure, medical access, and safety for children to learn and connect with teachers who are reflective of their community. Without them, Black children and teachers will continue to be left behind in an economic and racially stratified America.
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