It is important for all African-American adolescents, especially in urban communities, to have positive black male role models and mentors to look up to. Such mentors and role models should take on the responsibility of caring for and directing the male youth in both positive and negative situations.
Although many such black male leaders exist in every community, most students lack access to such mentors. Thus, schools are one of the most ideal locations to encourage such mentorship in a professional setting, thereby benefiting both African-American students and male educators.
However, statistics run using federal data revealed that the proportion of such black males is less than 2 percent in urban school districts. On the contrary, the majority of the students comprising such schools belong to the minority populations in urban school districts.
The shortage of such black male teachers can potentially elevate the risks for African-American male students as many of them do not have the advantage of having a positive male role model in their family.
Purpose and Significance of this Study
The primary intention of this study was to take into consideration the thoughts and perceptions of African-American males in a teaching capacity. It also focused on finding out whether demographic factors affected the willingness of African-American males to act as educators and mentors for the African-American male youth.
The results of this study can be utilized to enhance the awareness and the need to increase the number of African-American male adults acting as teachers and role models in urban schools.
A research team led by Bristol in 2014 revealed that having an African-American male in a teaching role could significantly enhance the outcomes of learning for black males. This is one important reason why African-American students drop out of school; they lack a positive influence in the learning atmosphere.
An increase in the number of males in the minority population of the urban districts and communities, and a decline in the number of African-American male teachers at the same time, has led to young black males being unproductive. This is demonstrated through disruptive behavior, poor grades or failing at their subjects, dropping out of school, etc.
Data from the U.S Census Bureau indicated that about 24 million children stay apart from their biological father, which is nearly two out of every 3 African-American children. It is thus important for such black adolescents to have people from the same background, that looks like them, doing something positive and making a change.
This gap between the number of African-American males available and the number of such males actually needed is considered to be one of the major contributing factors to the creation of discipline problems, poor academic performances of young black males compared to the others.
While it is true that non-African-American teachers can make an effort to work with such male students and vice versa, the advantages of having a diverse workforce in the teaching capacity can be extremely positive. This is why it is essential to have black men who understand the culture of a black man living in America.
How to Connect African-American Male Educators with Urban School Districts?
The obvious absence of African-American male educators in the last few decades can be explained by the following factors:
- Social and economical disadvantages
- Achievement gap
- The link between low achievement and involvement in the juvenile justice system.
- Disconnect felt by African-Americans from their white colleagues and the obvious cultural gap.
The presence of black males as educators in urban schools and districts testifies to the fact that success is within reach of young males of color. This is why the need to encourage more African-American males to act as mentors and educators at schools is of high priority.
Incentives that can be Offered to Recruit and Retain African-American Males as Educators
- Since 1991, the AACTE’s Holmes Scholars programs have aimed at establishing support for the recruitment and retention of educators from lesser represented communities. This is done by providing better professional opportunities to extend support to aspiring educators.
- Financial support and scholarships are offered by many schools for African-Americans males but these are not taken advantage of, due to other factors that deter their career as teachers.
- Many institutions have received great funding in grants to encourage the recruitment and training of black males who can serve as secondary educators in underserved towns and cities across the country.
- Efforts should be made by the authorities of the Department of Education (both national and state) to improve the rate of recruitment and retention of African-American male educators. They could be offered a joining bonus, reimbursement of a portion of their student loans, etc.
- An initiative only for mentoring and providing professional development credits for all the African-American males acting as educators could be started.
Dr. Jonas Tellis’ Educational Services
I believe that learning has no limitations. You can begin learning and educating yourself at any stage of life you are in. All that you need is an endless passion to set your career right and make your future bright! I am sure you all have heard of adult education classes.
It is my style of extending support to my fellow African-Americans and encouraging them to continue educating themselves even after they have crossed the standard high school or college age. I have learned through several years of experience at the Birmingham adult education services that the right atmosphere inspires the right set of qualities in adult learners.
While some people might feel dispirited about learning post-adolescence, the fact that adult brains are no longer tuned to learning does not hold water. Your life experiences give you an edge over others. Although it might be a little slow and difficult in the beginning, I have personally seen many people turning their life around with the support of Tellis educational services.
We provide the right environment, the motivation, and the right set of resources to help you achieve your dreams. Come, join us in Birmingham adult education, and let us together break the shackles of culture and achievement gaps!