Three areas of focus were spotlighted as potential solutions to the shortage: improved recruitment efforts, greater representation in teacher preparation programs and enriched experiences in school settings.
“With limited insight into the factors affecting Black male educators in P-12 education, the voices of the NNSTOY fellows served as the ‘coal miner’s canary’ – calling attention to the challenges experienced within the career trajectory of many Black male educators at every phase,” says Dr. Kimberly Underwood, University of Phoenix research chair and lead author of the paper. “While this paper will help identify potential solutions, we must continue to champion efforts to create sustainable actions to diversify the teaching profession and improve recruitment and retention efforts.”
Additional authors included University of Phoenix Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research fellows Dr. Donna Smith, Dr. Hilary Johnson-Lurtz, Dr. Joy Taylor and Dr. J. Medgar Roberts. Based on their experience as faculty members, educators and administrators, they provide a critical examination of the career trajectories of Black male educators as they enter into and advance within the P-12 school setting.
Studies suggest that the lack of black male educators has negative implications for all students, both culturally and academically. In their absence, students lose access to valuable insights and perspectives that can dramatically decrease bias and prejudice. Additionally, direct results can be seen among the benefits to students of color, which include lower dropout rates, a more positive view of schooling, fewer disciplinary issues, and better test scores.
Representation matters--but classrooms don't have it
While there are varying schools of thought surrounding how black male educators specifically impact P-12 classrooms, one common thread remained consistent within the research and among all the narratives of NNSTOY fellows: representation is critical. The voices of these fellows serve as a resounding acknowledgment of the ubiquitous need to increase black male educator representation to improve student learning.
To develop a strategic approach to the issue, the UOPX and NNSTOY team will build off the voices of these fellows and conduct research to examine socialization experiences of black male educators, including the root cause of the attrition. Their findings will be shared in future papers and conference presentations. Once identified, University of Phoenix will seek to implement solutions to recruit and teach the next generation of Black male educators.
Material from a press release was used in this report.