Group on assignment to recruit and retain black male teachers

by Dedrick Russell - WBTV.com

The Group called Profound Gentlemen is ready to tackle an assignment to get more black male teachers inside the classrooms. The group is working with school districts in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland and Charlotte.

They admit it is a challenge but they claim achieving the goal will pay off.

"African American male students who have an African American male teacher - suspension rates go down, academic data goes up," Profound Gentlemen Co-Founder Jason Terrell said.

The group also believes having a black male teacher can make a difference outside the classrooms too.

"They can talk to and see what success looks like," Profound Gentlemen Co-Founder Mario Javon Shaw said. "And see that they too can become an educator, hopefully."

In Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) District, about 15% of the district's roughly 9,000 teachers are African American and only 5% of CMS' teaching force are black males.

The plan is to retain black male teachers by offering the support they need to be successful in the classroom, and to also offer discounts to certain items. Profound Gentlemen can also help with promotions for black male teachers.

The promotions will yield higher paying jobs so they can still remain inside the school.

"We are able to recommend them to positions such as Assistant Principal (AP) positions and principals. That is something they are excited about."

The group is hosting an event on Thursday night at Aloft at the EpiCentre. It will highlight and promote the need for more black male teachers. The group's goal is to have one black male teacher for every 20 black male students.

In CMS, it's one black male teacher for every 66 black male students. The group wants that to change.

"There have been other districts that are following suit," Terrell said. "We are hoping that Charlotte Mecklenburg will follow with that veracity as well."

The group's plan to recruit more black male teachers is to start with college seniors who are majoring in education. The group says about 67% of education majors don't enter the teaching profession.

February 18, 2016

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