Of all the teachers in the U.S., only 2 percent are black and male. That news is bad enough. But it gets worse: Many of these men are leaving the profession.
Just last month, a new study found that the number of black teachers in the public schools of nine cities dropped between 2002 and 2012. In Washington, D.C., black teachers' share of the workforce dropped from 77 percent to 49 percent.
Now, a researcher at Stanford, Travis Bristol, is trying to figure out why black men are leaving the profession. Bristol himself taught high school English in New York City public schools; there he grew interested in designing policies that would support his male students, particularly boys of color.
As a Ph.D. candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University, he noticed a disconnect: While lots of attention was being paid to hiring more black male teachers, relatively little was being done to hold onto them.
So Bristol, now a fellow at Stanford's Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, set out to understand: What can be done in classrooms and break rooms to improve retention? For answers, he designed a survey for black male public school teachers in Boston.
Why is the shortage of black male teachers something we should worry about? Diversity drives innovation. There are more students of color in U.S. public schools than white students. Teachers of color represent 18 percent of the country's teaching force, and black male teachers less than 2 percent. Teachers of color are well-positioned to support their colleagues in navigating unfamiliar cultural terrain and designing culturally relevant pedagogy. Having a teacher of color, or black male teacher, can serve to disrupt societal preconceptions. And, as Gloria Ladson-Billingsrecently suggested, white students also benefit from having teachers of color.
Let's talk about your survey of black male teachers in Boston. What did you find? The number of other black men in the building seemed to influence their experiences. If you were the only black man in your school, you were more likely to say that people in your building were afraid of you because you were black - versus a school with three or more black male teachers.
One of the things that I found out: If a school did not have a black male teacher on the faculty, it was more likely to be led by a white principal. If a school had three or more black male teachers on the faculty, it was more likely to be led by a black principal. So the two categories suggest that I was looking at very different types of schools.
One participant talked about how someone would come and ask him to watch his students. And so for him, and for many of the participants, their colleagues only sought their help when it came to behavior management and not when it came to thinking about some of the content that they might have designed to engage students. These black men didn't have space and time to think about their practice in deep ways in their schools because they were serving the role of a behavior manager.
What's the key takeaway from your research? Recruiting black male teachers is not enough. Policymakers and school administrators must give attention to the working conditions in schools that drive black men away from the teaching profession.
I am a teacher all day with those children so I can't be with them after school!
I need money! Mentoring does not pay me. I'm unemployed!
I won't make a difference.
Those children don't want to hear what I have to tell them.
It's too dangerous!
Somebody else can do it better than me.
The job I have now is more important than mentoring Black children.
I mentored a child, once, in 1967 or 1987.
We need mentors in Chicago because:
More than 400 people have been killed (370 by gunfire) so far this year
More than 2464 people have being shot, killed or wounded so far this year
Only 10 percent of Black boys at the 8th-grade level read at a proficient level
Unemployment for some groups of young Black men is 30%, 40%, 50%, 60% and 70%
67% of the people in Cook County Jail and 58% of the people in Illinois Prisons are Black, mostly young Black men
Only 6 (six) out of 100 (one hundred) 9th-grade young Black men will achieve a 4-year college degree by age 26
So when I put out a call for men and women in Chicago to sign up to go into schools to mentor Black children and only 5 people showed up, then I understood why Black Americans are being run out of Chicago and out of the United States!!!
The five who showed up are (left to right) Kenneth L. White, Shimika Sumlin, Attorney Lawrence Kennon, Mosea Harris and Will Davis.
Five people out of 1 million Black people in the Chicago area showed up to mentor hundreds of thousands of young Black men and women and boys and girls who are begging for support, nurturing and inspiration. This is not going to work! Was everyone else watching Empire?
There is still time for you to join us by calling 773.285.9600 or to meet us on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 6:30 pm, at 3509 South King Drive, Suite 2B, Chicago, Illinois. If you can spare two hours a year to save Black children, call us.
The Black Star Project
The Black Star Project's
The Sunday University
Sunday, November 1, 2015
3509 South King Drive, Suite 2B
FREE Movie and Discussion!!!
Please call 773.285.9600 for more information.
These five young Black teen-age boys were accused of raping a young White woman in Central Park in New York City in 1989. They did not do it, but they all were found guilty and sent to prison for 13 years. They were essentially "framed" by the New York City Police Department. New evidence had them exonerated and released. They have won a $41 million settlement from the City of New York.
In 1989, Mr. Donald Trump paused in building his real estate empire to run a 600-word ad in The New York Times, The Daily News, The New York Post and New York Newsday, at a total cost of $85,000, under the boldfaced heading,"Bring Back the Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police!''
Mr. Trump said he wanted the ''criminals of every age'' who were "accused" (not convicted or guilty, but "accused") of beating and raping a jogger in Central Park 12 days earlier ''to be afraid.'' Mr.; Trump should at least contribute $85,000 to the settlement for his part in fanning the flames against these young men.
On Saturday, November 7, 2015, 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm, at 3509 South King Drive, Chicago, Illinois, The Black Star Project is sponsoring
Black Girls Read
for Cash and Glory!
Top Prizes for 9th- to 12th-grade Black female readers
$200.00 for 1st Place
$175.00 for 2nd Place
$125.00 for 3rd Place
Top Prizes for 5th- to 8th-grade Black female readers
$150.00 for 1st Place
$125.00 for 2nd Place
$100.00 for 3rd Place
Top Prizes for 1st- to 4th-grade Black female readers
$100 for 1st Place
$75.00 for 2nd Place
$50.00 for 3rd Place
Young women will read passages from Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer, Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Coretta Scott King, Sojourner Truth, Rose Marie Harding or other great Black heroines from history.
You must register to participate in this event. Registration is limited. This competition is only open to young Black females.You must bring proof of grade level to enter this contest. Awards will not be given without proof of grade level. Readers will be judged by a panel of educators, mentors and community members.
Selected winners will read to all of Chicago on The Parent Revolution Radio Showon WVON1690AM.
All prizes will be awarded within one week of November 7, 2015.
Please call 773.285.9600 to register your Black girls and young Black women readers for this competition of courage, skill and excellence. This event is open to the public.
10 Challenges and 8 Solutions to Improving Black Male Educational Attainment (from Teachers)
By Kenneth Quinnell
October 22, 2015
10 key challenges for black male students:
1. In 38 states and Washington, D.C., black males have the lowest graduation rates. The national graduation rate for black male students is 52% (compared to 78% for white males).
2. Fourth-grade black male students average 27 points lower in math and 29 points lower than white males students. In eighth grade, the rates were 33 points lower in math and 26 points lower in reading.
3. While black children make up just 18% of preschool enrollment, they make up 42% of preschool children suspended once and 48% of those suspended multiple times.
4. Despite being 16% of total student enrollment, black students made up 27% of referrals to local law enforcement and 31% of school-related arrests.
5. A recent study has found a steep decline in the number of black teachers.
6. Black males make up less than 5% of college students and their graduation rates are roughly half that of black women. Black males also have to borrow more to attend college and rack up more debt, which is compounded by the persistent wage gap in the workforce.
7. Outside of school, black male employment and income levels lag behind the levels for white males, with the black male unemployment rate being more than double that of white males.
8. Black males start out with much higher rates of poverty, too, with 37% of those under 18 and 42% of those under the age of 5 living in poverty.
9. Black men and boys are also disproportionately represented in the country's prison populations. Of the 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States, 1 million are black. One out of three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime.
10. Young black men account for 26% of juvenile arrests, 44% of youth who are detained and 58% of young offenders sent to state prisons. Because of this, 13% of black men are prohibited from voting because of laws that prohibit convicted felons from voting.
8 solutions offered by the American Federation of Teachers:
1. Reduce suspension rates and break the school-to-prison pipeline for young black males.
2. Radically increase the percentage of college- and career-ready young black males.
3. Develop culturally competent educators, students and education systems.
4. Increase access to educational opportunity--particularly early childhood education, career and technical education and higher education.
5. Increase access to and preparation for higher-paying jobs.
6. Address inequities in taxation and revenue-generating policies.
7. Advocate for fair policing through greater transparency and accountability, which will lead to safer communities.
8. Work to combat factors that lead to the mass incarceration of young black males.
Bill Cosby. Umar Johnson. Fela Kuti. And Farrakhan.
By Dr. Obari Cartman
October 22, 2015
Dr. Obari Cartman.
Our world is divided. The way our brains are set up, we categorize things to navigate the massive amount of information that bombards us. Add a pinch of greed, power and fear and voilá - hierarchal social systems based on those categories. White is over black. Rich over poor. Man over woman. Don't be a poor black woman. Rich white men run shit (for now).
A middle class black man, such as myself, gets to experience how hierarchy works on different levels. My maleness gives me privilege while my Blackness is under attack. With this consideration of the varying power dynamics of my intersecting identities I've been paying close attention to conversations about gender in modern black worlds.
I recently posted a photo on Facebook of me standing with Dr. Umar Johnson at the Million Man March. That was two strikes for some - shaking hands with a misogynist while listening to Farrakhan preach patriarchy. I always sit in the back of the room at events like an Umar Johnson lecture. Or at the Million Man March I spent the whole time walking around taking photos,watching people watch. The reaction of the audience is much more interesting to me than what a speaker is saying. I align with Ella Baker's position that "strong people don't need strong leaders". And since there is strength in unity I get concerned when I see unnecessary divisions between Black people.
The comments under my pic with Dr. Johnson became data for my unintended research study. The responses were split down the middle, both supporters and detractors cursed freely. Many seemed to have a visceral reaction to Umar. Team #NOjohnson have no doubt that he is a dangerous homophobic misogynist. For team #YESjohnson despite flaws Umar is genuinely committed and capable of contributing something worthwhile. But what does team #NO and team #YES think about each other? Although we must be careful not to confuse unity with uniformity, does that type of polarization hurt us?
Every institution in the US, however, is designed to instill values that maintain the existing power hierarchies. Institutions of "higher" education are perhaps uniquely positioned to develop language and philosophy slick enough to appear progressive while reinforcing status quo. I'm not necessarily saying that US universities deliberately recruit the best and brightest of our communities, remove them, rearrange their priorities through a rigorous hazing process until the promise of tenure becomes worth compromising effectiveness...necessarily. That was a round about way of saying that university academic types tend not like Umar. And I think something about that needs more serious investigation.
Maybe there never was and will never be a utopian moment when all the people are truly one. I don't know what it's gonna take for us to come together. I do know it will have to be intentional. Because the powers that be, the human powers that currently be, thrive off of us being divided. They profit off our polarization. We still think men are from Ogun and women are from Oshun. (*calling the planets Mars and Venus just reminds me how thoroughly our understanding of the universe is defined by the dominant culture).
"The longer you hang in there, the greater the chance that something will happen in your favor. No matter how hard it seems, the longer you persist, the more likely your success."
Quotation shared by Stanley Jendresak, Black Star Member
Dear Friend of
The Black Star Project,
We have the power to help educate Black students, and all students, in America. We have the power to put strong, positive, caring Black men in the lives of Black boys. We have the power to change the course of African people in America and throughout the world. But we must take that power!
The Black Star Project is working night and day to advocate for our children's well-being and provide necessary programs and services to support struggling Black students in our global educational ecology.
Saturday University, Sunday University, Student Motivation and Mentoring Program, Math Boot Camp, Young Black Men Of Honor Mentor Program, Real Men Read, Youth Technology Workshop (YouthTech), Take A Young Black Man to Worship and our Black Male Reading Academy, we are filling in the gaps in support services to students who need the most help.
Give $50.00, $100.00, $250.00 or more today and we will ensure that your donation will be used effectively to support our programs for our youth. At Black Star, our students see results!
For example, one 6thgrade student's GPA jumped from a2.6 (C+/B- average) to a 3.4 (B+ average) in only one trimester, and Saturday University was the only extra tutoring she received! Her science grade alone leaped from a C to an A!
You should have seen her face when she showed us her report card. She was glowing with pride!