2% of educators in America are Black males. The majority of American educators are middle class white women. The majority of school board leaders in American cities are conservative white men. That doesn’t sound quite like a recipe of success for Black boys who have been racially discriminated against in the history of American schools.
So how do we begin to close the achievement gap for Black boys in America’s schools?
Well, this change has to begin with engagement. However, we must understand that engagement doesn’t simply mean inviting Black parents to give feedback, Nor does it mean that having Black representation is the answer by simply putting a person of color on the school board. Moreover, we cannot just place a school leader over a struggling school already failing Black boys without a true needs assessment and support.
Changing the achievement gap requires honestly about the roots of racism in the educational system, accountability of adults rearing and educating children and empowering our partnership with communities.
The achievement gap is based on the comparison of white children vs children of color. The bias in how children learn based of the color of their skin is ridiculous. It’s insulting that data used to show how economic disadvantages (homelessness, transportation, affordable housing
Black males are the solution. My stance isn’t that we are the only solution. In fact, just hiring a Black male isn’t going to work. Black men who are effectively closing the achievement gap are connected to organizations like Profound Gentlemen.
School districts go wrong with just simply hiring educators to meet diversity quotas. We have to be intentional about what we’re looking for in teachers and what’s needed for Black boys to succeed. I’ve witnessed Black males who aren’t social justice driven or equity focused be just as detrimental as conservative whites educating Black boys. They too only see prison as a option for Black boys.
Closing the achievement gap for Black boys isn’t impossible.
It involves us hearing the voices of Black boys in classrooms across America.
It takes us empowering Black parents through advocacy on the policies that block the success of Black boys in schools.
More over, it takes true partnership between school district boards, leaders and stakeholders to have the right organizations such as Profound Gentlemen, leading the work on recruiting and training Black male educators.
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.