You may have seen State Superintendent Cade Brumley’s report on his first 100 days that was released last week. In the report, he speaks to how schools have responded to the needs of students during the COVID-19 pandemic and the commitment to providing safe environments for students to learn. We were pleased to read about where we’re improving and growing in education as a state, but we know there is still critical work to be done.
The report highlights some important teacher demographics in Louisiana that provide us an opportunity to better serve the needs of our children.
In a state where 20% of our students are Black boys and young men, only 5% of our teachers are Black men. For many young men, their time in school will give them the chance to connect with positive male role models - yet most of our young Black students will miss out on this opportunity.
A joint Johns Hopkins and American University study shows that Black students who had just one Black teacher by third grade were 13% more likely to enroll in college—and those who had two were 32% more likely! The same report found that white students also benefit from being educated by diverse teachers throughout their lives.
Our state can do better. From ensuring that our universities are making efforts to prepare Black men to be teachers to recruiting and retaining them to lead in Louisiana classrooms to also providing the funding, professional development, and inclusive environments where teachers of color can thrive as educators - we can be leaders in this space and uplift education outcomes for students who are often left behind.
Join us in telling the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that recruiting and retaining Black male teachers for Louisiana classrooms needs to be a priority for our students and our state. Diversity matters and we stand ready to make that a reality for all of our children.