The Black male teacher pipeline (PreK-12) is in need of repair. While the nation continues to educate an increasingly diverse student population, retaining Black males teachers has reached a tipping point. Nationally, no more than two percentof public school teachers are Black males. The percentage pales in comparison to the overall number of teachers in PreK-12 education settings throughout the United States. School districts have aggressively sought to address the shortage by hiring Black males for high need areas including science, technology, education and mathematics (STEM). However, Black males encounter a variety of obstacles because they disproportionately teach in underutilized and underresourced communities. The majority of these committed advocates choose to teach in neighborhoods with untapped potential yet encounter barriers including low pay and increasing workloads. Although the situation seems bleak, a new cadre of Black males spurred by the Neo-Civil Rights Movement is changing the narrative. For this reason, it’s important to recognize post-secondary institutions, specifically Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), which excel at training and graduating Black male teachers.
Highlighting the accomplishments of HBCUs is important because of their experience preparing teachers to meet the needs of diverse student populations. Several HBCUs including Cheyney University, began as a teacher’s college, providing students with essential skills to teach in underserved communities. HBCUs tradition of educating future teachers has a distinguished history. For example, noted scholar and Fisk alumnus W.E.B. Du Bois, in his seminal book, “The Souls of Black Folk” highlighted his experiences teaching in rural America. Today, the tradition of shaping young minds continues at institutions determined to support neighborhoods in need.
Last year, I wrote an article titled, “Top 10 HBCUs that Produce Teachers” to highlight the important role HBCUs play in preparing pre-service teachers. It’s important to continue the dialogue considering the small percentage of Black males in education. While we have reached a crossroad, it’s imperative that advocates, parents, policymakers and teachers continue to work together to address this important issue. The nation can recruit more Black males if we change perceptions that teaching is not a worthy profession. Without dedicated teachers the nation will struggle to compete with the global market.
The institutions on the list represent a snapshot. Several predominantly White institutions (PWIs) and other minority serving institutions (MSIs) confer degrees to Black male teachers. Each school listed below is an important link in the education chain. The data (fall 2014) was compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics (U.S. Department of Education) including four-year degree granting HBCUs. If you have a great story, feel free to share via #HBCUteacher (@LarryJWalker2) to continue the dialogue.