A new study illuminates the fact that Black male teachers are seemingly going the way of the typewriter and VCR: they are becoming extinct. As of now, Black men represent only 2 percent of all teachers in America, according to a report recently released by Education Week:
According to Education Week:
(Hurricane Katrina) forced Chrissell Rhone to pack up and leave New Orleans, where an ample supply of Black educators populated the city’s classrooms. He settled just 45 miles northeast, in Picayune, Miss., a town of 11,000 near the Mississippi-Louisiana border, and is now the lone Black teacher at the district’s alternative education center and among only a handful of black male educators in a district where a majority of students are white.
As a result, the past decade of Rhone’s 20-year career has taken a shape that differs from the first. He went from a place where race was an afterthought for him to one where race is more frequently on his mind.
“I wouldn’t say every day, but much more frequently than it had ever been when I lived in New Orleans,” Rhone said. “I have run into some problems and situations [where] I wondered, ‘Had I not been a black man, would it have been such a problem?’ “
The fact that he’s among a dwindling demographic, both nationally and close to home, isn’t lost on Rhone. Nationally, black males represent roughly 2 percent of all public school teachers.
“Sometimes we’re just overlooked and sometimes we’re just not there,” he said.
Failing to Keep Pace
America’s K-12 schools have never been more diverse, with nonwhite students now outnumbering Whites, but efforts to diversify the nation’s teaching corps haven’t kept pace. As a group, U.S. teachers remain overwhelmingly White and female—and Black men are the most underrepresented demographic in the teaching ranks. And surveys and anecdotal information show that teachers of color can feel the sting of bias in schools as easily as minority students in mostly White educational environments.
The shortage may be even worse in places like Picayune that have historically struggled to attract nonwhite teachers. In the district, 60 percent of students are White and 34 percent are Black.
Even when teachers of color find work in the classroom, many end up fleeing in frustration, according to “The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education,” a 2015 report from the Albert Shanker Institute. Nationally, the report says, nonwhite teachers are being hired at a higher proportional rate than other teachers, but they’re also leaving the profession at a higher rate.
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