New report finds Black male teachers most engaged with students but the hardest to retain

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New report shows Black male teachers spend more time with students outside of class than teachers of any other demographic

New report finds Black male teachers most engaged with students but the hardest to retain

The DonorsChoose survey includes recommendations for change during a time when teacher retention is low.
April 11, 2022

A study by DonorsChoose, titled Unique Impacts, Unique Burdens: Insights into the Black Male Educator Experience, finds that Black male teachers are the most engaged with their students but the hardest to retain. The report highlights the impact Black male teachers have on their students and suggests improvements that can be made through recruitment and retention efforts to better serve male teachers of color.

The survey is a part of DonorsChoose’s initiative to have a data-inspired equity focus, which focuses on support for low-income students of color in K-12 education, as well as equity in crowdfunding support among teachers of all identities.

Black male teachers only make up about 2% of teachers nationwide but spend more time with students outside of class than teachers of any other demographic. Fifty two percent of Black male teachers are also reported to have entered the profession because they wanted to teach a curriculum that affirms the identities of students of color.

“I think the benefit of having students see themselves reflected in their teacher is more important than they can realize at their young age,” said Glenn Smith, a public school educator in Brooklyn who identifies as a male teacher of color and was interviewed by NYN Media for this story. “To them I’m just Mr. Smith, which makes it easy to have conversations about their Blackness or Brownness and not feel tripped up on the right or wrong thing to say. It’s like having a conversation with a family member and older uncle, brother, cousin, and it makes it easier.”

However, the report points out an “invisible tax” placed on Black male teachers, which tasks the educators with additional work because of their race. Some examples include Black teachers who also serve as liaison to families of color in schools where racial tensions run high; who are called on to teach a community about racism; or who are charged with disciplining students of color.

Public schools are at the greatest risk of losing Black teachers, according to the report, which also finds Black teachers expect to leave the profession sooner than other teachers. The report recommends focusing on recruiting from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) after research showed that students of HBCUs wanted to extend their college experience into the classroom. The report also suggests creating more opportunities through alternative and mid-career certification programs and exposure to college teaching. 

“There needs to be more opportunities specifically for men of color. It shouldn’t be this hard to get men of color into a building to teach children that look like them. There doesn’t seem to be enough access for men of color to get their education subsidized to do this very important work.” said Smith.

Angelique Molina-Mangaroo
previously founded and was executive director of The Wealthy Youth Project, a financial literacy organization interested in addressing issues faced by women and girls of color. She also was a reporter for the Hunts Point Express in the Bronx, served as a Young Women’s Advisory Council Member on the New York City Council, and has worked with several nonprofit organizations, among them Planned Parenthood of New York City and the Legal Aid Society.