by Carolyn Clifford - WXYZ

By 2024 students of color are expected to make up 56 percent of the student population but when you look in front of the classroom the majority – 82 percent – of the teachers and principals are white.

However, a program at Wayne State University is on a mission to change that picture.

No matter who you talk to the conclusion is the same, diversity in the classroom is a benefit to all students, especially when it comes to crushing negative stereotypes.

For instance, take a look at any prison, one in nine of the inmates is a black man. But when you’re talking education, only 2 percent of public school teachers are black males.

I asked one student how many African American male teachers he’d had in the classroom. He answered only one.

Marvin Ray teaches World History at University Prep Academy in Detroit. The first black male teacher for Joshua Baker and he’s a Junior.

Ray says fo his students it’s important not just to teach but also to be that role model. Ray says he’s had many students come up to him and say they’ve never had a black male teacher before.

Ray is a former Morris Hood Scholar. The mission of the program to place teachers in urban schools to show students who look like them they too can be successful despite the hardships of life.

Derrick Kellam is the principal at University Prep Academy High School and a former Morris Hood scholar. Despite the suit and tie he says students see a mirror image of themselves in him.

Kellam says it’s what the Morris Hood program wanted for them – to be developing a way professionally as far as leaders and come right back into the community and pass it forward.

Kellam says one of  their values at U Prep is they care about people and they model as adults by showing students a genuine care for them and then we expect them to care about one another.

The MHS program has been passing it forward since 2002 with the motto “Each One- Reach One-Teach One.”

Doug Whitman is the Dean of Wayne State’s College of Education. He says, their teaching laboratory is the Detroit School Systems and DPS is where they learn to teach and if they can get through WSU’s program they can teach anywhere.

Fifty-three males are selected each year. Scholars take classes, do community service, workshops and participate in professional conferences.

More than 90% stay with the program and complete degrees, and from watching Ray and Kellam and how their students react,  its clear the program is working and changing the face of education for the better.

Watch the video