In nearly every major city in America, the Public School System is majority Black/Hispanic. The numbers are even higher in cities with high Black population, whether major market or minor market. However, when you look at the race of students you’d expect it to reflect the faculty but in most of these schools one demographic is becoming extinct. When they call the roll Black Male Teachers are absent.
If a school has a large number of black kids, especially black boys, it becomes essential to have a representation of black men on the staff. But, what can a school system do if Black Males aren’t even applying to teach? Then, if you inspect even deeper, the numbers prove they’re not only not applying to teach but they aren’t even majoring in Education in college at all anymore.
In America, 93% of teachers are White with 83% being white female teachers. Only 6% of teachers in America are black and only 1% of them are Black Males. Even in systems with majority black enrollment, the absence of the black male teacher is instantly obvious.
The Women Rose Up
Like every failing statistic plaguing the progress of the Black Community, the root problem runs deep into Slavery. Even with a black President there are countless areas of the Black Community which show no signs of positive progress.
Men were always expected to provide and protect the family. Women were expected to nurture the children and submit to her husband. It wasn’t until the great 19th Century Women’s Rights Movement, led by Susan B. Anthony that women’s opinions were even accepted. She was supposed to cook, clean, and keep quiet. The only time she had any real authority is when she obligated to nurture the children.
It was unpopular for women to be educated during this time. As a matter of fact, David Anthony, Susan’s father, was born and raised a Quaker. His beliefs were the opposite of the popular in his time. He raised his daughter to be educated so she knew how to read at three years old. When they moved to New York, a male teacher refused to teach her. So, her father Home Schooled her and taught her himself, dedicated to her education and the potential he saw in her changing the world. He wouldn’t even allow toys in their home because he felt they distracted her from her inner light.
Black men never had such an opportunity as David Anthony to teach their daughters to read. Few black men could read at all. If learning to read would ever manifest in the Black Community black men would have to meet the challenge. If white women were considered “nothing” you can only imagine what chances a black woman would receive.
The Black Man not only provided and protected his family but it became the family’s goal to pull all resources together to send their son to college. Upon graduation, the son still wouldn’t get many opportunities but he did have an obligation. He could retun home to either Teach or Preach. During this time, a black male teacher or preacher was honorable. Many times the black male did both jobs because he had to be educated to effectively do either profession.
As long as it was honorable, black men pursued it. After the Women’s Rights Movement, women not only earned their right to vote but they won their right to be educated as well… even Black Women. Black women became more than just cooks and house cleaners. They cooked and cleaned yet many earned degrees on top of it. This NEW black woman wasn’t just a sister. Now, she was his competition.
As women slowly became the majority of the Educational System, men took more masculine occupations. Black Men were eager to join the Military, work in factories, mechanics, railroad expansions, and blacks suddenly became the blue chip in most American Sports. As black men progressed in these areas, the black women were left to educate the village.
By the 70’s, black women were becoming Politicians, Lawyers, Judges, and despite the common perception, some even became Pastors. By the early 90’s it was common to see black women in every key leadership position in the Black Community.
Young black kids, especially black boys, were subliminally being taught Education was a feminine profession. Subconsciously, the young black boy was learning a lesson even more detrimental to his male development. His perspectives, views, and ideas were being shaped by a woman.
The 80’s and 90’s were the rise of the Black America Drug Invasion. It was always there but due to music and corporate sponsored marketing, Drugs and Alcohol was easily associated with the Black Man’s Image while Education and Parenthood were attached to the Black Woman.
Black boys were being raised in households with the absence of a father. If his mother took him to church, his Sunday School Teacher was a woman and women headed many of the Church ministries. When he went to school, the teachers were either women or white males. Even today as school systems have grown, many of the Superintendents and Principals are women. If the family had a Social Worker, she was woman. In every area of a black kid’s life where he’s being educated, a woman is doing the job.
Subliminally, he’s been taught for decades now. Black men aren’t supposed to be teachers. So, when he graduates High School he has already been shaped to see Teaching as a feminine occupation.
Black Men have always been heavily challenged financially. The expectations of a man is to be a financially stable Head of his Household. Until recent decades, black men have been forced to enter the workplace inferior to his white counterparts. His intellect had no confirmation and he was only expected to work hard under a white man or to play ball for him. Black men, heavily desiring more money and better living for their families, began to subconsciously exterminate any profession on his list that would keep him financially inferior to not only white men but now, even to his wife.
Start Up teachers usually don’t earn more than $40,000 a year. Most teachers never make more than $50-60,000 a year even in the states with the most healthiest Educational structures. The average black man simply can’t find the relevance in getting a degree in a profession where he knows going into it he will probably never make more than $50,000. Then on top of that, the profession requires him to deal with kids all day long. This is something many neglect to do in their own homes.
As unfortunate as it seems, our society doesn’t place Education in the priority seat. Teachers are the least paid professionals but are expected to do unprecedented hours of work. It’s hard to convince a young black kid to consider teaching when he’s older if the examples of success that he’s exposed to among his gender don’t come within 100 yards of an Education site. Even when the schools’ Parent Associations meet, it is always majority mothers… in every city in America.
Beyond the school system, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts have seen an inflation of female Volunteers and Leaders and a humongous decline in men volunteers over the past few decades, especially of ethnic background. It’s easy to find black women who will work with youth groups but it’s like catching a bull to attract men.
Dealing With Kids
It simply does not pay well to work with kids and it takes a lot of compassion. Compassion For Children is not a very good selling point to engage black men, especially when the highest percentage of Single Parented Homes in America By Population Ratio are black.
Despite the numbers, black men aren’t totally irresponsible fathers and community leaders. It has simply become evident that many black men have become comfortable with women holding leadership in most of the areas which require Educational and Fundamental Development for black kids. Black men seem to be absent anywhere that even requires a strong educational foundation. Spotting a Black Male Librarian is like seeing a Dinosaur walking in the middle of a busy intersection. It’s just not common at all anymore.
Teaching requires stern discipline ethics. The amount of time it takes to become an Educator is not something many black men are obviously willing to commit. If a person wants to teach High School he can have a degree in Math and become a High School Math Teacher. Well, it works a little different in Primary Education.
In Primary Education, that person has to learn all subjects. Primary Educators teach the basics of all subjects so they must know Math, Science, Social Studies, Reading, and English. But that’s not all, Primary Educators are required to have background studies in Child Development, Behavioral Sciences, and Child Welfare. If a kid comes into a classroom and he’s not performing well, the teacher is expected to be able to look at the child and determine what could possibly be distracting him.
When a kid has temper problems and behavioral tantrums, the teacher is expected to observe these actions and have a general opinion of the root of the child’s behavior disruptions. If a child is not learning on the level of the other students in the class, the teacher is expected to have enough compassion to bare with him but also an awareness of why the child may be performing behind the others.
A teacher is not just an educator. That teacher, for nearly 8 hours a day, is the child’s parent. The teacher is aware of symptoms affecting your child before the parent is even aware of them. Paying attention to a child’s growth, learning, and behavior is something many black men feel is a “woman’s responsibility.” Because these are the projected requirements to be a Primary Educator it doesn’t attract most black men who pretty much, according to the statistics, pass on these requirements even in their own homes.
In the late 80’s, schools saw the apparent affect the absence of Black Teachers had on systems with majority black enrollment. It became even more evident that the lack of Black Male Teachers in the classroom was an even greater problem. Since most systems had no problem with Black Males applying as coaches they were required to do both.
It is still very common today at schools in majority black school districts for the Football Coach to also teach Social Studies or for the Basketball Coach to teach a Math course in Secondary Education. The only way to get more males period was to require them to have a Minor in an Educational field. The only downfall is, it required more college preparation hours to be accepted into a system that is now demanding a man to do more work for the same pay.
The lack of Black Males in the School Systems are honestly the Bi-Product of an even greater problem. There is a lack in Black Male Leadership altogether. To repair what has been broken would require black men to step up in every area of the Black Community. City Councils have a stronger presence of women now more than ever. School Boards seem to be heavily led by women. Even as National Lawmakers, women have taken the forefront in the political process and have also proven to be the most dependable voters during elections. In most communities, the women Judges are more visible in their communities.
Images of Black Men in prison are more common than Black Men heading corporations. It is a personal choice to be a model citizen. The visuals of black men as thugs are more common than black men as local leaders. It is a personal choice to have productive morals. The description of black men with two and three different kids by various women cannot be considered a racial stereotype if the numbers only echo the Honest To God True Facts of the reality in which we live today.
It is a problem and and it will not be solved collectively. It will only be solved when each black man make a personal decision to reverse a hideous curse that black man have cast upon themselves. When the most powerful man in the world is a Black Man it has become evident that the American White Man is no longer a Black Man’s only Achilles Heel. If you want to change how the world sees you then you change what you show the world.