The devastation of 2020 made obvious the innate racial disparities in our local, national, and global communities.
The public school sector of the United States is no different. The US Department of Education reported in both 2016 and 2017 that only 2% of all public school educators were black male teachers.
That is an astounding number when considering that over half of all school students are children of color.
Studies have shown time and time again that having a more diversified educational workforce leads to the betterment of both the school and the students.
However, schools in the United States have consistently failed black male teachers by not eradicating the slew of challenges they face because of the color of their skin.
Working Environment for Black Male Educators
Black male teachers across the nation have reported experiencing similar situations when working in public schools.
Acting as Police
When a colleague is faced with a misbehaving student, black male teachers report that these teachers (especially white women) are more likely to turn to them for help. This has left many black men feeling like their hard-earned teaching expertise is undervalued when compared to their perceived ability to handle tough situations.
Biased Institutional Structures and Systems
When a black male attempts to undertake any teaching preparation programs, they’re likely to face difficulty paying the fees for certification tests, as well as racism, isolation, and marginalization.
When they enter the school system as a professional, they experience further biases and describe hyper-surveillance of administrators whose focus is on implementing a singular, scripted curriculum that leaves no room for breaking down inequities and inequalities.
Low Performing Schools
Black male educators are more likely to be placed in schools with a larger population of students of color. However, these schools also report a lack of resources, lack of peer and leadership support, unrealistic accountability expectations, and inequitable teaching conditions.
These conditions lead to a high turnover rate for black male teachers.
More likely than not, a black male teacher will be the only POC teacher. This isolation can lead to feeling alone and disconnected from the overall community and core mission of the school.
Why Black Male Educators are Necessary
The benefits of having a black male teacher cannot be overestimated. Additionally, having a more diverse workforce leads to the breakdown of social inequalities and inequities, it teaches children how to be global citizens, and drives innovation.
Research has shown that black male teachers are particularly beneficial for black male students. When students are taught by a member of the same race, they’re more likely to perform better and stay in school.
Black male teachers are more familiar with the cultural needs of black students and are better at creating a space for academic achievement. They expect more students of color.
For these reasons and more, having black male educators leads to lower dropout rates, more positive reviews of schooling, fewer disciplinary issues, and better test scores.