groups advocate to increase the number of black teachers | Florida News

ATLANTA – Education groups across the country are joining forces to increase the number of teachers of color by 1 million by 2030.

While minority student populations increase across the country, the increase in the number of teachers of color has not increased with the student trend, according to the research.

The National Center for Education Statics reports that black teachers in particular make up only 7% of teachers nationwide, although black students represent double that percentage; In schools where the majority of students are black, just over a third of teachers are black and 54% are white.

Research suggests that having a black teacher is associated with better outcomes for black students, as well as a greater chance of getting a high school diploma and higher college aspirations.

“A diverse teaching workforce not only fosters the affirmation of spaces for students of color, but also helps prepare all students to thrive in a multicultural world exponentially,” said Sandra Liu Huang , education manager at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which recently issued more than $ 9 million in grants to organizations to expand the pipeline of diverse teachers and education leaders. “We can – and must – do more to make sure our classrooms reflect the world around us. “

Georgia has the second highest number of black teachers in the country, behind Texas, accounting for nearly 29,000 black teachers (25%) of all teachers in Georgia and 11.4% nationwide. Black students make up almost 40% of the student body.

Black Teacher Collaborative in Georgia received $ 750,000 from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to develop a research plan that evaluates teaching practices that promote racially affirmative learning environments for black children. The collaboration plans to launch a scholarship program for academics conducting research focused on the learning needs of racially minority people.

“Our children deserve the love, the care, the high expectations, the relationships that black teachers are uniquely able to provide to black children, especially in times like today,” said Hiewet Senghor, founder of Black Teacher Collaborative.

Senghor recalled four of his black teachers from Frederick Douglass High School in Atlanta who were instrumental in his success. Black teachers, like his, are important in providing important building blocks for black children’s development, including intensive care and love, a strong racial identity, high expectations, socio-political awareness, he said. she declared.

Compared to Georgia, 34.9% of students in Alabama are black, compared to 20% of black teachers. Tennessee has just under 8,000 black teachers, which represents 11.8% of the state’s teachers. More than 24% of the state’s students are black.

Mississippi’s black student-teacher ratio is more than double, with about 9,000 black teachers (26.3%), and black students make up 54.2% of the population.

Sharif El-Mekki, former teacher and Founder / CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development, which also participates in the One Million Teachers of Color campaign, said increasing teacher diversity starts with motivation and engagement of black students in high school.

“For them to have such negative experiences and under oppressive conditions, and then just want them to imagine themselves leading the class, I think for some of them it’s a challenge. “said El-Mekki. “For some of them, they ‘you don’t experience educational justice, so it’s hard for them to see that teaching could be a form of activism, because they may not do it. ‘experience and not be what they experienced in these seats. ”

CBED has a program that began offering in-person learning to black students in several states and virtual academies.

His decision to become an educator came after graduating from college when his black mentor told him, “The purest form of activism was to teach black children well.

“A lot of them if they see that 90 percent of their teachers are white, they may subconsciously believe that it’s not really a space for them to show leadership,” El-Mekki said. “And then when you talk about overall readiness, high school graduation rate, college readiness, college graduation rate, all of those things can be barriers, but there is also a lack of support, mentorship and financial backing – be it scholarships, certification and practice exams, fees, etc.

Data compiled by the Black Teacher Collaborative shows that southern states have higher percentages of black teachers and higher percentages of black high school students seeking a two- or four-year degree.


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