There are only two options for Black boys in schools; graduation or jail stated by a former student of mine, Maleek Thomas in 2008. Georgia schools provide many options for success to students. If you fall into one of the marginalized groups, your options go from many to few. However, this isn’t the case for Black boys.
THE UNDERREPRESENTATION OF BLACK MEN IN THE TEACHER CORPS NOT ONLY NEGATIVELY AFFECTS STUDENTS OF COLOR, BUT ALL STUDENTS WHO ENTER THE CLASSROOM. – BMEC
After a recent visit to the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, AL., I came across a project I had my students do about 10 years ago regarding high school readiness. Maleek stated in his presentation that there are only two options for Black boys in schools; graduation or jail. This was based on of his experience in schools and the lack of Black male teachers.
As a Black Male Educator, I decided to turn my tears of hurt into actions of hope.
10 years later, Maleek’s words from that presentation still ring out to me. This let me know the urgency in us empowering Black Male Educators that already exist (inside and outside of the classroom) in order to find a place for them in a space that has been uninviting. If we don’t advocate for more Black Male Educators, we are complacent in accepting that Black boys will rarely, if ever, have one.
I’ve partnered with Dr. Danielle Stewart to bring awareness this month for Advocacy Awareness Month to mission of The Fellowship of Black Male Educators for Social Justice. We’re joining forces to help bring awareness to the need for more #BlackMaleEducators in schools, Pre K – higher education who want to see all students, but especially Black boys thrive and succeed.
Dr. Danielle Stewart is the founder of the Community Empowerment Foundation, Inc. The mission is to identify issues like this and to educate, advocate and empower US to create the change we want.
Advocating for more Black males to become educators has to be intentional. In speaking with Dr. Stewart, she believes that being intentional in not only the recruitment of Black male educators in the classroom but ALL of our community engagement efforts.
“We will help bridge the gap that exists between black males and the culture of educational institutions.,” she says. In order to do this we must first recognize the voice of the Black boys and celebrate their value in our communities and schools.
How Do We Do This ?
Creating platforms in our communities that will educate our stakeholders about the true deficit of Black Male Educators in schools.
We then must advocate for and with our Black boys who are directly impacted by this problem and embracing their stories as a testimony to answer the “why” to this issue.
Black boys should experience having a Black Male Educator throughout their academic career. When we think about the shortage of black male teachers in the classroom, often it is because Black men did not see it themselves or have the experience and exposure to one personally.
Bringing awareness to the need for more Black Male Educators gives the opportunity them the opportunity to teach or lead in multiple roles. This positively impacts the academic settings in schools and gives Black boys the opportunities to witness such a rarity.
contributor: Dr. Danielle Stewart is the founder of the Community Empowerment Foundation, Inc.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.