Recruiting and retaining black male educators, indeed all teachers of color, has been a challenge for our community, as is reflected by their limited numbers. And although the reasons for this are well known within the education community, success has been elusive due to the many stakeholders in the teacher development pipeline, each with its own mission and measure of success. It is imperative that all stakeholders – colleges and universities, alternative teacher preparation programs, government policy makers, funders, community-based organizations, K-12 school systems, and corporate and foundation leaders – work toward the common goal in a seamless fashion.
Black Men Teach Twin Cities is the “quarterback” of this team, integrating the work of all partners so when a black man indicates interest in becoming a teacher, we can show him a viable, affordable pathway to the classroom that is right for his personal situation.
Through Black Men Teach, our community will succeed at increasing the number of black male educators by being:
- Laser Focused – We will focus on one cohort of teachers – black men in elementary schools. By focusing on one cohort we can direct recruitment efforts and the specific supports they require to thrive.
- Comprehensive – Black Men Teach addresses all of the challenges faced by black male teacher candidates: recruitment, training options and cost, on-boarding, unwelcoming school culture, meaningful career paths and adequate compensation. Addressing any one of these challenges on its own will not yield success. For example, encouraging someone to pursue teaching will not be effective if the cost of education is unrealistic. Also, gaining a degree and teacher license will mean little if the school one works for does not provide an environment where a teacher of color can flourish.
- Executing a Collective Impact Model – Black Men Teach Twin Cities has created a consortium of partners that will work together toward the common goal of increasing black male educators in the elementary grades, and will serve as the “backbone organization.” These partners include 8 elementary schools – district and charter; teacher preparation programs; community-based organizations that will broaden the reach for recruitment; and state government. The common goal of this consortium of partners is to have each of our 8 K-5 schools have 20% of its staff be black male educators within 6 years.
Black Men Teach Twin Cities is a demonstration project, allowing for maximum flexibility and systemic cooperation between all partners that affect teachers along the talent development/career continuum. Once proving the concept of this approach, it can be expanded to include other races, ethnicities, cultures and grade levels.