To the Editor:
While Black people only make up 7 percent of the teaching profession, Black males are an even smaller minority, and statistics show that they are also the subgroup that struggles the most academically (“Stop Trying to Recruit Black Teachers Until You Can Retain the Ones You Have,” March 23, 2023). I believe it is essential to focus on male educators to address this disparity. The school where I’ve worked for the past 12 years has been successful in recruiting and retaining Black male teachers, and I believe two factors contribute to this success.
Firstly, our principal, Rashid F. Davis, who is a Black man, prioritized hiring Black males in all positions, resulting in a staff in which white employees are the minority. I teach in the math department, where 4 of 6 teachers are Black and three of those are male. Most of us have been working in this school for several years without any intention of leaving.
Secondly, our principal hires men in support positions, such as attendance teachers, long-term substitutes, and school aides, and encourages and supports their career advancement. Several were hired originally without certification and were given the opportunity to go to school and complete their required qualifications. Some of us are also being supported in our pursuit of school building leadership.
To increase the number of Black teachers, we need more Black administrators making hiring decisions. Additionally, we need to be willing to hire and develop people into roles in which they are not yet qualified. Being a teacher requires several steps of academic success, which can be a hurdle for young Black people growing up. If we invest in their potential and give them the support and opportunities they need to succeed, we can build a future where more Black males see education as a viable and fulfilling career option.
Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH)
A version of this article appeared in the May 17, 2023 edition of Education Week as To Recruit Black Teachers, We Need Black Leaders