by John Rogers -

The numbers show there are not enough African-American men teaching our children today. In fact, only about 2% of America’s teachers are black men, and experts say this must change.

The nonprofit group MenTeach says it’s important for minority students to have minority male role models.

School officials say more black men are needed to teach to reduce minority achievement gaps and dropout rates.

The Department of Education says the Florida minority student population is at 54.2%, and schools struggle to find minority men who can teach.

Leon H.S. Principal Rocky Hanna says, “We look all the time for applicants and unfortunately because of the pay in the education profession, African American males that are strong academically are entering other professions that are paying a lot more money than unfortunately what we’re paying our teachers today.”

Leon H.S. Drama Teacher Roderick Durham says, “I know that it makes a difference that if I look out there and I see some faces of certain students who look just like I do that I think that they feel a connection. I won’t say they don’t feel that connection with others who are not of the same race.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says about 44% of students nationwide are minorities, but nearly 90% of teachers are white.