Why Isn’t the Need for More Black Male Teachers Included in the Equity Conversation?

If educational equity is addressing fairness and inclusion, then I believe that the need for more Black male teachers in academic classrooms should be on the top of the list. EdLanta supports the #WeNeedBlackTeachers call to action, led by the Center for Black Educator Development.

We’re highlighting the need for more Black male teachers and the urgency of including us in the conversations around educational equity.

As a Black male teacher, I can tell you that we truly impact all students in academic classrooms. We help to reduce negative outcomes of students and that is one benefit for students, schools, and communities. Additionally, having more Black male teachers in academic core classes and extra-curricular areas including STEM, Robotics, Reading, and Fine Arts is also needed. 

Furthermore, we desperately need more Black male teachers in special education. I have been in a lot of spaces where conversations around equity are being had, but too often, the need for Black male teachers isn’t always included. I always add to equity conversations that Black male teachers make up just only over 2% of the teacher workforce. I believe equity must include action items that will increase how public school districts are recruiting and retaining Black male teachers in academic classrooms. 

The action items should include:

  1. Developing listening sessions with students and Black male teachers 
  2. Improving funding formulas for teacher pay scales 
  3. Partnering with organizations such as Profound Gentlemen, BMEsTalk, and the Center for Black Educator Development 

The investment in recruiting and retaining Black male teachers should be a priority of improving equitable outcomes for students of color. 

According to Sharif El-Mekki, founder and chief executive officer of the Center for Black Educator Development, the Center for Black Educator Development is a Philadelphia-based group working to recruit, train, and retain Black teachers across the country. As quoted in Edweek’s article, the impact of Black male teachers improves equity in the academic, social and emotional development of students: 

“Our friend Dr. Chris Emdin talks about this idea that for some Black youth, returning to a school to teach is like returning to the scene of a crime against themselves, and how painful and traumatic and how triggering some of this must be. You can’t just do it in isolation, it has to be part of an entire effort to address the inequities.

What we learned was there were a couple of things that really seemed to resonate with the Black youth. We would tap into their activism, tap into their sense of justice and fairness, and say, “Hey, if you had a great teacher, pay it forward, but if you had a bad experience, consider becoming the teacher you wish you had and knew you needed.”

– Edweek

Black male teachers are needed to help improve educational outcomes and experiences of students. Not just for inner city or Black children, but all children benefit from having experienced a Black male teacher in an academic, STEM related, or fine arts classroom. When thinking about equity, my hope is that more public school boards will prioritize increasing the 2% to improve the retention and recruitment of Black male teachers. We must invest in efficient ways of recruitment and implement equitable action items in order to improve the economic benefits of teaching. 


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