Black Males Are Not Becoming Teachers
The fact that he’s among a dwindling demographic, both nationally and close to home, isn’t lost on Rhone. Nationally, black males represent roughly 2 percent of all public school teachers.
“Sometimes we’re just overlooked and sometimes we’re just not there,” he said.
America’s K-12 schools have never been more diverse, with nonwhite students now outnumbering whites, but efforts to diversify the nation’s teaching corps haven’t kept pace. As a group, U.S. teachers remain overwhelmingly white and female—and black men are the most underrepresented demographic in the teaching ranks. And surveys and anecdotal information show that teachers of color can feel the sting of bias in schools as easily as minority students in mostly white educational environments.
The shortage may be even worse in places like Picayune that have historically struggled to attract nonwhite teachers. In the district, 60 percent of students are white and 34 percent are black.
Even when teachers of color find work in the classroom, many end up fleeing in frustration, according to “The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education,” a 2015 report from the Albert Shanker Institute. Nationally, the report says, nonwhite teachers are being hired at a higher proportional rate than other teachers, but they’re also leaving the profession at a higher rate.