This op-ed article originally appeared in The State and is reprinted with permission.
I was wasting time on Twitter when I came across a post that stopped me mid-scroll. The original post posed a question: How many black male educators did you have in kindergarten through 12th grade.
One of my former students chimed in with a shocking number: 1…Coach Thorne.
That’s me; that’s who I was. I taught social studies at Blythewood High School for 11 years and was an assistant football coach.
At first glance, the number 1 seems to be an indictment and a referendum on what we in education circles have known forever—we need more black men in the classroom. But upon further inspection, with a little critical analysis, I believe there is power in one.
Statistics tell us that having just one African American teacher in elementary school reduces drop-out rates among black boys by nearly 40% and increases their recognition as gifted students.
But stats don’t tell the story.