Black men comprise only 2 percent of the nearly 2 million public school teachers, according to Call Me Mr., an organization that wants to get more black men in front of the classroom.
In 1954, there were 82,000 black teachers in American public schools. In the decade following the Brown v. Board of Education decision, nearly 40,000 black teachers and principals lost their jobs because all-black schools were closed.
Call Me Mr. Mister, an acronym for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models), is recruiting teachers from a broader more diverse background. The organization is based at Clemson College of Education.
Parents and educators recognize the importance of black male teachers for black students. For black male students to matriculate successfully through college to return and teach means that schooling truly added value to a system that apparently rejects and excludes black and brown talent.
In particular, black boys need black male teachers as role models. A recent study suggests that when black men teach black boys the student has a greater opportunity to be successful, according to an article in the Michigan Chronicle.
If a low-income black male student in third, fourth, or fifth grade has a black teacher, he is 39 percent less likely to drop out of high school, according to CityLab, which published the article The “Repercussions of the Black Teacher Shortage.”