Black Teachers Really Matter In The Lives of Black Students

A recent Johns Hopkins University study concluded that Black students with at least one Black teacher in their school careers are more likely to graduate high school and consider college enrollment. That having just one teacher that looks like them informs a student’s educational future is a powerful conclusion.

Since the release of this study, there have been several companion pieces supporting the importance of Black teachers as well as the need to recruit Black male teachers. Across the country there is a shortage of Black men going into the teaching field and places like Detroit and Philadelphia are working hard to reverse the trend.

Then there are people like Jason Terrell and Mario Jovan Shaw with intimate knowledge about the shortage of Black male teachers and decided to do something about it. The Teach for America alums built a cradle-to-career mentorship program, Profound Gentlemen, specifically for Black males. Did I mention this little gem produced a spot for Terrell and Shaw on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list?

Now, take a few minutes to walk through this interview with a Chicago principal as he explains the importance of Black boys visualizing their potential through Black male teachers and leaders.

Finally, the most powerful read comes from David Jackson, a New York high school teacher.  In this New York Times editorial, Jackson explains with great compassion the value of a Black teacher in the lives of Black students.

The fact that my skin color matches that of my students doesn’t give me any superpowers as an educator. But it does give me the ability to see them in a way that’s untarnished by the stereotypes, biases and cultural disconnects that fuel inequality and injustice — like the outlook that made Trayvon Martin, carrying Skittles, appear dangerously suspicious to the man who took his life. Like the assumptions that studies show make people see black boys as less innocent than their white peers.

Something to think about…

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