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Radio Show Highlights Efforts to Retain, Recruit Black and Hispanic/Latino Male Teachers

AACTE members Ernest Black and John Kuykendal joined AACTE consultant Amanda Lester on a recent episode of Education Talk Radio to discuss the networked improvement community’s (NIC’s) study on the challenges and opportunities to increase Black, Hispanic, and Latino male teachers nationwide.

“Using a NIC is part of an ‘improvement science’ approach to looking at a problem of practice that persists in education,” explained Lester. The NIC involved a study of 10 institutions that shared their own experiences in recruiting and retaining teacher candidates in this population. Black and Kuykendal represent two of the college preparation programs that participated in the study, which began in 2014.

The premise of the research is that Black and Hispanic/Latino male students underperform in schools but when paired with Black and Hispanic/Latino male teachers for as little as one year, their success improves.

Lester shared that overall, approximately 80% of the teaching profession is comprised of white female teachers. According to Black, of the remaining 20%, Latino males make up about 1.7% and African American males make up about 2%.

“[One of] the issues is that the teaching profession as a whole has sort of lost its respect and dignity. That prevents many Black and Latino males from even considering the profession as a career option, compounded with the fact Black males and Latino are needed now more than ever to be in the classroom.” said Kuykendal, associate professor and dean of the school of education at the University of Indianapolis. “The NIC was established to help improve these gender-based groups enter into the teaching profession, to try and tackle some of those issues.”

Black, who is currently the system-wide director of CalStateTEACH but was on staff at California State University Fullerton when the NIC research was conducted, added, “We know that African American and Latino male students are the most disciplined and suspended K-12 students. Add the high dropout rate for this small demographic of students, and many of these young men will never even get the opportunity to get to the level to become a teacher.”

Kuykendal expressed that school districts that have a highly diverse student population are desperately looking to colleges of education to prepare and send more male teachers of color.  Black voiced that as the world is becoming more global, even homogenous districts “need to begin to diversity their teaching staff to better prepare those students for the world we are living in.”

“Another layer of what the NIC was doing for the past four years was talking about retention of these teachers,” said Black. “[For example,] if I’m a teacher of color and most of the kids who get in trouble at the school are male students of color, those students somehow end up in my room. I’m learning how to teach but I’m also the disciplinarian of that school. It’s very difficult after a year or two of this to stay in the profession.”

Lester agreed, “Given the small percentage of Black, Hispanic and Latino males entering the profession, it’s really critical that colleges and schools of education have resources and strategies in place to make sure they are not only recruiting but supporting and retaining those individuals. That’s really what the numbers have proven the NIC community should be focused on.”

A report highlighting the successful strategies of the multi-year effort of the NIC institutions to recruit and retain Black, Hispanic, and Latino male teachers will be published and distributed later this year to help other institutions find ways to improve their practices.

To listen to the full interview, link to EduTalk Radio.

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Katrina Norfleet

Editor, AACTE

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