This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
A group of Philadelphia area teachers has presented a plan to increase the number of Black men in the profession.
The Black Male Educators Report, compiled by a new organization called the Fellowship, calls for the Philadelphia School District to increase its recruitment of Black men, incorporate more Black men as paraprofessionals, and establish summer job opportunities for Black men interested in education.
The Fellowship also announced that it will help pilot five elective courses in Philadelphia high schools intended to attract more students to the profession and establish a residency program for Black men interested in becoming teachers.
The group’s goal is to recruit 1,000 Black men as teachers in Philadelphia public schools by 2020.
“We talk about excellence, not just flooding the pipeline with more Black men. What we want is highly effective Black male teachers,” said Fellowship co-founder Sharif El-Mekki, a principal at Mastery-Shoemaker Middle School in West Philadelphia. “We know that they have to be coached. We know they have to be supported. We know they have to be built.”
4.5 percent of Philly teachers are Black men
Nationwide, just 2 percent of teachers are Black men, according to the U.S. Department of Education. In Philadelphia, about 4.5 percent of teachers are Black men, according to the School District.
Meanwhile, Black males make up about a quarter of all Philadelphia public school students. Some research suggests that students learn better from teachers of their own race, but the Fellowship’s report argues that all students would benefit from a more diverse teaching workforce.