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Having Our Say: Examining Career Trajectories of Black Male Educators in P-12 Education

by Donna Smith; Hilary Johnson-Lutz; J. Medgar Roberts; Joy Taylor; Kimberly Underwood

Jul 1, 2019

Achieving a diverse and inclusive workforce within P-12 education is critical to ensure that students receive a robust, quality educational experience. However, overcoming the shortage of educators of color has been a major dilemma for our nation's schools for decades. And, despite students of color comprising over 50% of current classroom populations and the United States Census Bureau's prediction that people of color will become the "majority-minority" in the overall United States population by 2043, these trends fail to correlate with representations of educators of color in P-12 education, especially for new cohorts of Black male teachers. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), male educators comprise only 23% of the public school workforce and, more troubling, Black male teachers represent less than 2% of the total teacher population.

  • Increase targeted recruitment initiatives and incentives, especially at the state and federal levels, to attract Black males to and successfully support necessary training for teacher preparation. To help attract qualified candidates, possible financial incentives include loan-forgiveness programs, covering certification costs, and tuition reimbursement packages for future professional development and certifications.
  • Adopt state- and district-wide cultural competency initiatives. Continuous improvement initiatives aimed at inclusivity could create specific and deliberate efforts to socialize Black men into the school culture and ensure they are treated equally. School districts would benefit from providing ongoing professional development on implicit bias to administrators and staff particularly those responsible for the hiring and advancement of Black male teachers.
  • Prioritize the hiring of more Black male educators as assistant principals, principals, superintendents, and district officers. A critical examination of the pipeline for advancement reveals the need to cultivate of meaningful opportunities for Black men to engage at all levels within the school district. Few efforts of scale have been mounted to build on existing minority teacher pipeline programs and advocate for greater diversity at the building and district levels. Visibility across administration provides opportunities to highlight the benefits of Black male representation as well as the ongoing need for diversification at this level.