Today on CNN Newsroom

The latest news and information from around the world. Also connect with CNN through social media. We want to hear from you.
June 21st, 2010
06:03 AM ET

Duncan: Black male teachers needed

He's the head of education for the entire United States and he's calling all black men to the front– of the classroom– that is. This fall, Education Secretary Arne Duncan plans on touring historically black colleges and universities in hopes of increasing the number of black men teaching in America's public schools– which is currently less than 2 percent.

Is placing black men in the classroom the answer to solving some of the problems in the black community such as gang violence, high school drop out rates, and fatherless homes? Secretary Duncan thinks so. Do you agree, or disagree?

Share your thoughts and Tony will read some of them on air in the CNN Newsroom.
Watch the three-part series, Education: The Next Generation, starting today at 12pm ET.

Filed under: Anchors • Tony Harris
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. Carl

    Disagree. Millions of teachers from a myriad of cultures and backgrounds are loosing their jobs around this country for economic reasons. Not because they are bad teachers. Until they are made whole we shouldn't be looking to lure new talent in that would be discriminatory juxtaposed against the value of teachers being forced out.

    June 21, 2010 at 7:19 am |
  2. Barbara

    Yes, I definitely think it would help. My son was a lost young black man and since he didn't have a father, it was his volunteer basketball coach who was black that got him back on track. He couldn't relate to me. I was a woman. He needed a stand-up man to model. He is now 30 years old, happily married with two daughters and a nurse. I'm so proud of him.

    June 21, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  3. Mary Ann Costello

    Hello Tony,
    For so many reasons increasing the number black male/female teachers is a good thing. But, the teacher must be literate, well educated in the liberal arts, and well educated in the subject matter. In other words, it should be a good teacher. To send in less than a good teacher will, in my opinion send the wrong message.

    June 21, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  4. Tasia

    I most certainly believe that black male teachers have become what seems to be an endangered species. As a female African American teacher, I see the impact that I have on African American students. They admire that I am a college graduate, and look up to me. For males, this image doesn't always exist at home. African American male teachers become the only role model some of these boys have. I hope more men step up and take on this important role!

    June 21, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  5. devion

    your story on black male teacher sounds a little racist. the teachers should be hired on degrees and or experience not on the race they R.

    June 21, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  6. Inez Jacklin

    I think there should be more good teachers who are black. A black man who cannot teach will not help the situation. We have seen the folly of thinking that being black is enough to get the job done. Being black and competent is the requirement.

    June 21, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  7. Sam in AZ

    Trying to get more black male teachers instead of just more teachers and better ones is both racist and sexist. If people just try to get the best teachers and more of them, the results ofwhich race and gender they are will work out. The way to have less discrimination is to have less programs and goals for specific races not to continue segregating.

    June 21, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  8. leslie brown

    I, very much, think it would solve some of the social ills plauging this country!!!! if the kids only see white women teahing, the boys think there is no place for them and choose alternatively negative routes to grow-up and it leads to death or jail.
    I am from chicago and I would like to volunteer/apply to be a male teacher. please send me info on how to participate.
    thank you i advance.

    June 21, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  9. devion

    whats next we have 2 hire chiness male teachers NO, I want the childern 2 b taught by the best qualified teacher!

    June 21, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  10. Tomi Johnson

    I'm all for placing more black men in educational positions of authority in public schools, but black males in classrooms, administrative positions, and on school boards are often demonized in the media. One example: Dr. Bynum case in Cobb Cty., GA. Give me five good reasons why black men should want to become teachers in public schools.

    June 21, 2010 at 10:48 am |
  11. Toni Goethe

    Absolutely!!! I've been telling my husband (Frank), a retired Masters Sgt. in the USAF) for years that he should be a teacher. The implications of being a black male teaching black boys (and girls) who do have limited contact with a positive black male figure are astronomical. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker working in a CA state prison (filled to the rim with black males), I know the negative impact of not having a positive male role model (who looks like you). These men needed a male to assist them on their journey to becoming men (great sons, brothers, fathers, husbands and providers).


    June 21, 2010 at 10:50 am |
  12. aj

    The nationally of a male teacher could matter if the students are not
    getting the family support that is needed from home to succeed in education. Many students today do not have that male figure at home . So black,hispanic, or any male teacher could be a positive influence in a young person's life. Who always seems to get the most from their students, discipline and performance wise? Yes, coaches. In Texas, I can tell you most football coaches are male. Also,some students sometimes need someone they feel relates to their culture and understands their home life. So in areas were one nationally is the majority, it could not hurt to have a black teacher in the classroom if the majority of the students are black. Some students may also see that teacher as a positive role model. As a hispanic public school teacher in texas teaching high school science, I have experienced positive feedback from several hispanic students on this issue.

    June 21, 2010 at 10:55 am |
  13. Orien

    I think it is necessary in order for young black males to know and understand there is more to life than sports. The pay is not all that great but the satisfaction knowing you have helped a generation of black boys and girls to a better future is pure satisfaction. Helping others is better than selfish greed.

    June 21, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  14. Donald Victorian

    It is an accepted principle, that, developiing minds are influenced by the existence of familiarity. This could also be true in the classroom. It should be noted, that, the lack of disciplinary authority inside the school system is a greater problem for educators. The limitations placed on classroom teachers is well known by students, and, exploited by students to their perceived advantage. The increase of male educators may give problematic students a temporary controlled appearance, inside the classroom. The moment problematic students realize the current teacher limitations are still in place, there will be a return to the previous status This is a major problem in Louisiana.

    June 21, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  15. Sandra Warren

    According to a recent study for NPR, appropriately broadcast on Father's Day, the number of fathers actively involved in their childrens lives has declined dramatically over the past 2 decades. Young men, in particular, suffer from this absence. For this reason, I believe that we should encourage male teachers of all ethnic groups to serve in the teaching profession.
    The fact that a mere 2% of these male teachers are Black is appalling. Our culture should be proportionately represented by every culture, and clearly this is not the case. Moreover, Black male teachers could serve as a positive role model not only for young Black men and women, but for the rest of the population as well. There persists a marked degree of prejudice in this country, and greater diversity of those in positions of influence can only serve to promote a shift in this mentality.

    June 21, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  16. Don

    I absolutely agree, especially in the lesser funded, purposely demoralized by the system, inner city schools. African Americans continue to talk about the same things over and over again. We do the same things over and over again, while expecting a different result. We are beyond suffering in the education of ourselves.We are suffering in our financial lives as well as, if not more, in our relationships with each other. Until we change the way we think, then speak honestly about all things in our community, we will continue to have other people, other cultures, to dictate what they think is good for us. Because, we have been doing wrong for so long, we think it is right.

    June 21, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  17. Lafrederick Thirkill

    I am 1 of 216 Nationally Board Certified Black male educators in the US. I cannot begin to tell the importantance of black men in the classroom. Gary Howard speaks about this in his book, " We can't teach what we don't know."

    June 21, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  18. Shawn - Gainesville, Fl

    I think the presence of Black Male teachers in the classroom is definitely under-represented and much needed. Not only for Black students who need to witness solid examples of college – educated black men in front of them...but for white students as well. We as Americans to embrace and perpetuate the stereotype that black males are only successful if they can dribble a basketball, make a touch down...or create rap music. What about the element of intellect? HELLO?!?

    We spend more time admiring rappers and ball players more than we do people like Dr. Ben Carson – Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

    It's time to step away from this twisted perception, and show these young children how to exercise their minds...and take advantage of the academic opportunities available to them. What better source, than the solid examples of a college-educated black men in front of the classroom.

    June 21, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  19. Dr. Juan Cruz, Ed. D.

    Mr. Duncan, Secretary of Education, the color of an educator is bogus. His/her essence is a 24/7 devotion & readiness for a results-based profession. U.S. schools reward and recycle incompetent educators. Substandard education subjects students to a life of misery and to a slow and painful death sentence. In a leadership vacuum, as in under-performing schools, tragic things exponentially worsen when the inept replaces the inept. Dr. Juan Cruz, Ed. D.

    June 21, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  20. David E. Davis

    I argee. I am a freshman and My major is secondary education(Math). I saw the need for black male teacher at my school so that gave me will to make a change. If we put that male figure in their life while they are young then that will direct them in the right way when they get older

    June 21, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  21. Eric Edwards

    I absolutely agree with Mr. Duncan, and there should be a component of African and African-American history taught by these black mle teachers so that the students will be incented by them, not only as role models, but inspired to act differently in a much more positive way in their every day life, because of lessons learned of African contributions to mankind. I have seen the powerful results of this from lessons I have taught from my African artifacts collection, to young people.

    June 21, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  22. Dave Bennett

    Maybe, if teachers were paid a fair wage, more people in general would take up the profession.

    June 21, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  23. susan

    What about Native Americans, Asians and those of other races.
    As a former school board member, we need better teachers – regardless of race. Has anyone considered that as long as we focus on race, we will never get to the point of viewing people as people.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  24. Valerie Brown

    I feel that high school students really need teachers that they can identify themselves with. I think that students need someone in the school that they can feel comfortable enough to talk to and ask for help. For many African American students, that person is an African American teacher.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  25. Nora L

    We need GOOD teachers, regardless of their race. However, I do think that we need more men in the classroom, including black male teachers. Our young people–both black and white–need good role models.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  26. Ron

    There is a shortage of black male teachers as well as black male school administrators. I have seen plenty of black males trying to get jobs as teachers just to be turned away. My children's school have no black teachers (male or female) at all even though I have forwarded applications of qualified candidates to the principal. They do not even get an interview. I know of sizable school districts without a single black male principal. The problem in many of these cases is that they are not being given te opportunity to teach. The question then is who is doing the hiring. In difficult economic times, people tend to get their friends and relatives on with the company.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  27. Jackie Dickerson

    With so many young black males being raised by single mothers we need more role models in the class room. I am 58 yoa and still look back at a number of teacher that changed my life. This is a very good ideal, let’s get going.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  28. Terence Davis, MS.ed

    I truly believe that more school systems and classrooms would benefit from having more black men as techers because black men are as intelligent, progressive, proactive and committed to the welfare of this country. Many of the schools are mini-multicultural societies and the teaching and administration staff must begin to reflect the changing landscape of education. Many charter schools are created to address this dilemma and, for some strange reason, federally funded public schools are lagging to address and correct this concern.

    Black men can be thoroughly trained to be competent and over time inspiring to the students they teach. We can talk about this for years to come, but little will change if we don't implement change.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  29. David Green, Jr

    It is essential that more black males be placed in classrooms across the country. Roles models are necessary. I am a retired mathematics
    professor. I volunteer to help 6th and 7th grade African males learn to appreciate mathematics. Too many are given up on.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  30. Alicia

    The only problem I see with it is another Bakke vs. Regents of the Unifersity of California case.

    You shouldn't just hire a less qualified person based on sex and race, as it is discriminatory towards the more qualified people who might not be of that race or sex.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  31. Andy Carr

    First of all Tony: You are my favorite newscaster on CNN. As a former broadcaster I appreciate your casual, laid back manner of doing the news. Commenting on the black teacher thing I would like to say that just because there is a call for these teachers doesn't mean there will be jobs for them. My wife, a Texas certified bilingual teacher, was told that once she was certified there would be jobs for her. Not true: She has a masters degree in bilingual education, as well as the certification, but has been applying in many school districts for the past three years without one single job offer. What they fail to say in their statement about the need for teachers is that they need substitute teachers, not fulltime teachers with benefits. One school district here in San Antonio employees over 2,000 substitutes and are still looking for more. They pay about $80 per day. Andy Carr, Phd

    June 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
  32. Linda Taylor

    Now it's time for black males to save our education system. Before that it was retired military. Sorry folks, I've been in this teaching game too long and I've seen recruitment of certain groups come and go...most very disappointed. What it really takes is years of study, preparation, practice, talent, and a sixth sense of how to reach at-risk children. Kids can spot a phony in a heartbeat and they'll chew you up and spit you out regardless of what color you are.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  33. Pamela

    Having been a teacher, I have always said the pay is so low that is the reason hardly any males, white, black, or any other color are teachers. How can a "breadwinner" raise a family on that kind of money? Consequently, many young males get no role model in the classroom. I think the problem is not one of color. That may be rather sexist, but it is the truth. Competency alone is not getting the job done with 50% of the population in schools. Notice the graduation rates from high school and college is now higher among females than males? I am not proposing going back to the way it was, if that can even be done, Women have been oppressed too long. Even today it is found a woman makes less than a man for the same work, but education suffers when models and professional athletes make outlandish salaries and teachers make "peanuts".

    June 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  34. Norberto Villanueva, Jr.

    Expanding the premise of this discussion to Pan-Africanism, ours is a unique perspective that cannot be shared or served by those who have not experienced and therefore cannot empathize with the marginalization if not outright oppression of the African diaspora. Children who see caring, mentoring adults that look, think, and even talk like them relate to and feel like they can be that adult, too. But this is only one factor to consider. Another is to evaluate the sensitivities of these adults by screening for those who cannot empathize, regardless of color.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
  35. Katie

    I think this is an important initiative. Children generally aspire to be like the role models that they perceive as similar to them. If all the young black males growing up in our educational system are exposed to primarily white female teachers, they are far less likely to make that connection that will spur them onto a career in teaching. It is not racist nor sexist to encourage more diversity in a field with such an impact on our country's youth.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
  36. Keisha

    Although, it can sound racist, to some, it is a great idea for the following reason:

    There are not enough tangible black mentors or role models to start. We saw and continue to see an improvement in young black childrens' confidence and grade level just because we have our first black first family in the Whitehouse. But again, Pres. Obama & family aren't easily accessible. And being able to see tv shows and commercials with successful African Americans aren't enough. We need more black mentors and role models that children can see in the flesh and speak to directly. Not only will it be beneficial to black children but also to non-blacks by providing them examples of successful, competent, intellegent black mentors and role models. I believe Arnie Duncan is on the right track, and hope to see him bring this to fruition sooner than later where possible.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  37. christine zacher

    As a retired high school teacher from a predominantly African American district, I found that the missing ingredient in the success of my black male students was the lack of a positive role model in their lives. Yes I think Duncan is on the right track; but each candidate, no matter the ethnic background, must be carefully screened for the necessary qualities to be solid classroom teachers and role models.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  38. Tammy

    Dear Tony,
    As a teacher, It is absolutely imperative that more African American males are placed in the classroom, not just for role models for African American boys, but for the benefit of ALL children. In addition, I am tired of people saying passion and ability are more important. If you make it through a good credential program you will have the ability. Also, why assume that choosing African American males means that you will choose ones who lack passion for the career? Passion and ability is necessary in ALL careers.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  39. Robert Kerns

    Tony: When I was working at Forces Command Headquarters in East Point, I tutored in two intercity elementary schools and started a chess club in both. Both schools were 95% black. Even though I am Caucasian, I felt that the children related to me well. Even though 85% of the children lived in single parent (or more common, Grandparent) homes, most were bright and eager to learn. Too many black college students drop out before graduation because they are so poorly prepared for higher education. Black, well educated male teachers (most teachers in my schools were black females as were both principals) would be a giant step in the right direction. The problem is, well educated black males are in demand in the private sector. A program of pay adjustment would be required to attract and retain your target group. I was fortunate that both of my principals were very strong leaders and the discipline in both schools were outstanding, a basic requirement if learning is to occur.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  40. Clarence Jay

    The sentiment is sound. Young men do need positive male role models that can identify with their culture and background. But to simple thrust Black men into the classroom, might not be the total answer, especially in public schools. These schools need innovative, literate, compentant, and dedicated individuals that understand not all teaching is done in the classroom. Just because the man in.the front of the class room may look like them, they still need to be sensitive to their plight and understand the climate they are working in. An overhaul of the curriculum would a finer addition.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  41. Dr. Juan Cruz, Ed. D.

    As a former educator, my classrooms, ethically, were a microcosm of our society. My white, Latino and African-American students saw me as their mentor, facilitator of knowledge, and a father figure but never as a Latino. I always replaced substandard teachers and under-performing, low work ethics classrooms. Within three weeks, my students had developed a strong work ethics and their academic performance and behavior grew positively and exponentially. I am a Massachusetts licensed Middle School and High School Principal/Assistant Principal, with successful executive experience in the nonprofit sector. However, the closed circuit of eunuchs would never consider this non-neutered pooch for the principalship.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  42. Elliott Adams

    Yes, I do believe there needs to be more black male teachers in education. However, I also do believe these men need to keep their career options open. There are many ways in which black males can help in the classroom without entering the classroom. For example, volunteerism. Many times, schools provide opportunities for volunteers to read stories to students on an individual mentoring basis. Teaching, is a huge responsibility, and surely, one that any qualified black male educator can handle. However, and aside from the financial limitations, there are a lot of things black males are not told or do not initially realize about entering the profession.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  43. Tony Watson

    Apparently they are not aggresively recruiting African American teachers. When these teachers graduate, they are not being hired. Martin, St Luice, Palm Beach counties in Florida also Kentucky rejects AF Applicants. My kid gave up a Medical career school to teach drop out & no-hope kids for the past 14 years, brought back to the classroom on an average 61 primarily AF kids and graduated 58 of which the majority went on to college. Relocating to Florida she applied to almost all the school districts with only one acceptance 7 graduate/post graduate degrees also teaching, counseling etc and an impreesive record – have it all. The problem is not finding African American teachers – the problem is hiring them. Don't blame her for wanting to give up her passion for teaching and return to the corporate world where there is a decent salary. It is difficult for AF teachers to get an interview much less a job offer.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  44. Greg, Ontario

    If teachers skin color matters that is the very definition of racial bias and an insult to everything people of color have strived for in the past 100 years. Only in the land of the so called free and the home of the so called brave is such a question still being asked. The rest of the world pitties you.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  45. Robert Kerns

    One more point. Competent black male teachers are crucial to providing role models for black male students. There are few positive male role models in most intercity black communities or schools.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  46. Tony Ezemonye

    I totally agree that our nation needs more black qualified and competent teachers. Some of the reasons for the shortage of African American teachers is that many blacks are locked up in jails, Also the Media does not show more blacks in graduation gowns and caps instead we constantly see blacks in handcuffs and wasting in jails. Media is quick to show black youths in sagging jeans and White T. Shirts than in Suits and Ties. Go Arne Duncan, change the image kids see on TV and watch more blacks excel not only in teaching but all areas of academia. Show more role models in intellectual fields not just sports and music.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  47. Mr. Eister

    No free rides just because he is black. They have to 'earn' it, they have got to 'want' to be a teacher. And who cares if he is black or white as long as he TEACHES properly, and all the student like and respect him. So 'pleeease'! get off the 'WE NEED" more black teachers insanity al ready.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  48. Angela

    I cannot believe this subject has even been proposed.

    Anyone may become a teacher with the proper education and determination REGARDLESS OF ETHNICITY. That's the way it should be! We should focus on hiring QUALIFIED teachers. They are, after all, educating our children, who will be future decision-makers.

    Ethnic background and/or gender should NOT play a role whatsoever! ABSOLUTELY NO CERTAIN PERSONS SHOULD RECEIVE A FREE PASS, especially based upon the aforementioned specifications.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  49. Lance V. Strawn

    Mr. Duncan can make a call for all the teacher's of color he wants. They can forgive the loans, etc. Work 10 years AND THEN forgive the loans? What about the financial struggle for the 10 years??
    The call for male teacher's of color will fall on deaf ears until SALARIES ARE INCREASED!!
    It's a shame what teacher's are paid and ball players make millions. Every pro ball player should have a required 1 time percentage donated to the education system upon signing.. since it's school that got them there in the first place.
    I'm a Black male and I've worked with all sorts of children, At Risk Youth, Autistic children, gang members, you name it. Not only should salaries be increased, but in certain schools there should be HAZARD PAY. Teacher's can't teach for being threatened, beat up, and at times murdered. For what? Under 30k a year in some states??
    I'm a single Black male with no children of my own, and never been married.. My checks are BUTCHERED by taxes!! At 26k a year here in Missouri, my take home was around 13K!!
    Why can't people in government see that TEACHER"S NEED TO MAKE A DECENT LIVING TO and should NOT have to seek out pay day loans?! I was shouting at the TV during your interview with Mr.
    Duncan, "WHAT ABOUT THE SALARIES!" I noticed there was no answer for that question, only about forgiving loans.
    Maybe Joe Clark should be Secretary of Education?

    June 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  50. lafayette harris

    too may black kids do not get the proper home training and they are not able to stay in school,so they drop out .my city has a 60% drop out rate ,these are the people couseing the problem.

    June 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  51. SFUSD veteran

    Let's build relationships with prisons and the surrounding colleges. Misdemeanor offenders (not felons) could have the option of taking classes while incarcerated. Some of these could become teachers. The San Quentin/Patten University program shows tremendous recidivism reductions. Why shop around to black universities? Not many educated people–regardless of race–want to become teachers because of the low pay and the state/national "reform" snafu. Why not get two birds with one stone?

    June 21, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  52. Lance V. Strawn

    Mr. Duncan,
    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE start with increasing SALARIES!!
    That's why you don't have many male teacher's as well as teacher's color! Think about it.. who wants to go into debt going to college, only to be in further debt after becoming a teacher?? And we wonder why America's education system is in the toilet?

    June 21, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  53. Wendy

    There is no doubt that ALL students – not just African American boys – would benefit from being taught by more African American male teachers, a group still marginalized in almost every segment of mainstream American society today.

    I am a white female middle school teacher of 18 years, so I represent the common presence in American classrooms. While many of us try to make classrooms and curriculum inclusive for all, there is no substitute for students seeing adult role models who look like them and can relate to their experiences and challenges outside school. It is especially important to offer mentoring and leadership to young African American males, as they are disproportionately disciplined – one root cause of the downward spiral that results in prison terms instead of college enrollments.

    June 21, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  54. Lafrederick

    It continues to amaze me at the thought that black male educators must be "good","knowledgeable of the subject matter," and most amusing "literate." It is this very thinking of black males by others that has prevented in the increase of black male educators. I have three degrees from predominately white universities. I have yet to enter a white teacher or professor's class who could teach me about being a black male. Therefore, I was left with the impression that none of them were "good." Furthermore, I cannot tell you the number of non-black educators that I have experienced who were NOT knowledgeable of the subject matter. In fact, if it were not for the slanted textbooks, they would be lost. Lastly, why is that to be viewed as literate, you must meet the definition of white America? Our nation produces some of the lowest and slowest readers in the world, yet we continue to ignore the predominately white female teaching force. Who's really illiterate, the student or the teacher that can't teach reading and writing? Or is this just another standard misunderstood by the general public's perception of quality teachers?

    June 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
  55. Annette Woods

    I am 53 yr. old grandmother with 7 grandchildren who protects them as best as I can. You see I have had 25 seizures and I try to explain to them GOD has a plan for everyone. Now, 6 of the grandchildren are men, they are very smart and intelligent. I try to instill in him the best is coming if he stays in college an get that paper. (1- grandson already in Iowa college). The other grandson are looking forward in his footsteps. Whenever he calls for compensation. I help to keep him there and off the streets.

    June 21, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
  56. Garry Scott

    Hello Sir:

    I am a black male looking to get into the teaching profession and if there is a better obtainable way to get my goals accomplish to get into the teaching profession, please show me how, for this school year 2010/2011. I will be finishing up on pursuing a MIT (Master In Teaching) in Special Education, Learning Disability (LD) the month Aug. 2010. If you could please sir inform me on what procedure that I need take. I have notice this shortest of male of color in the educational system, which is the reason why I return back to school to get my Master in the most needed position in our education department. Thank you for getting this movement going. You can contact me by e-mailing me at

    June 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  57. Ed U. Kater

    Those of you talking about how "racist" this is are only understanding the need on a surface level.

    Chances are you only understand education (and the history of discrimination within this field), culture, politics, and even manhood on a surface level as well.

    What's worse is you have no perspective on what it is to grow up as part of a culture that is not considered "mainstream" in this country. Specifically to be a black male in light of the history of (including present day) discrimination and degradation.

    Finally you have no perspective on the role of a male father figure, specifically in a "minority" community where they are so badly missing.

    When you educate yourselves on these points a little deeper, you may think again about claiming any effort to fix the problems of non-white communities are "racist". Otherwise, you're just reversing play of the "race card", and we know how much you can't stand people who do that.

    June 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  58. D White

    I think we need more black male teachers because they would better understand the black young male. Most teachers are white middle class women and they do not understand how hard it is growing up black in America. I think they do not see the same potential in young black boys as they see in others. Coming from a mother of two black boys.

    June 21, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  59. Dstanbroug

    There should be an increase in black males inthe class room but they should be good teachers. I teach in Detroit and I see black male teachers but they aren't the best at effective teaching. Not all are bad, but only 1% of public school teachers are black male. Of that 1% many are not that good. Culturally we need to accomodate students so they won't feel disconnected to the material. If students understand why they should learn then they will be more likely to retain the information as it relates to them.

    June 21, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  60. milt

    Wasn't Barton simply saying that if there's a 70 million dollar cap on the books, that to ask for 20 billion could appear unlawfull.

    June 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  61. J Bell

    Black male teachers are not only essential in the schools for those who have no positive black role models to pattern themselves after but for the other races to see that black males are not only about playing sports, singing and dancing, and not those depicted in the media having committed a crime. But they are also about making positive contributions to all walks of life and giving all a sense that that can succeed. Yes I do feel that they can make a difference in some of the problems that plague black communites at this time.

    June 21, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  62. Angela

    I find it very sad that there is such a struggle to "properly" educate anyone in this country, especially when there are millions of children worldwide who are dying for an education – some quite literally. Let's not forget the struggle they are facing.

    When I was in Peru, the children there were ecstatic upon receiving a pencil, pen, or crayon!

    We should not need to accommodate anyone or ensure they have particular role models they can identify with. The problem is not with our teachers.

    June 21, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  63. John Tyler Erie, Pa

    I don't think color has as much to do with teaching. Teachers have had almost of their authority taken away over the years. The students have the right to attend class do nothing and be disruptive and the teacher can do nothing about it. Over the past few decades police and teachers have lost the right to get the respect they deserve. If you think black students need a father figure hire black teachers to work with them on a one to one basis.

    June 22, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  64. J. Irons, Bx., NY

    The president should demote McChrystal so that he may resign on his own. I've never seen so much disrespect done to any other president before in my life time as is being done to President Obama. It makes me sad. God be with him!

    June 22, 2010 at 10:55 am |
  65. Juanita Sykes

    You have to be a 360 thinker to understand where this stands. Look at the most effected, blacks prisons are 90% black males, the ones that made it on the same path as the rest were saved by a coach or a black male teacher. That's what helped my brother after my father died, that's what helped me as a female make it through school. A black man can speak with authority, integrity, confidence, but at the same time show that he cares and has that love that will feel the void of a lot of our young black men as well as the young black females that are missing out on the father figure that's needed in these children. No I'm not saying that the teacher is suppose to play the parent but these are people that see your kids more then you do from 7 am til 345 pm. They have an affect. I have a very close friend that graduated from school and has hopes of becoming a teacher upon going back to school. He is a prime example of what we are talking about here now. Kids are drown to him, even my son loves him because he is so loving and speaks with authority to make you listen and they obey. Teachers do more then teacher our children, helping a young man learn to tie a tie, telling these young girls that its not okay to dress the way you dress because you attract the wrong men goes a very long way, and they will listen especially when it comes from a black man, because it is rare. I know all of this from experience, I lived it first hand...........Color does not mean everything but when its directed towards our people which is the Black community, it means a lot to our children because so many of these kids are missing a father, that's not rock science its statistics. The movie Lean on Me is a prime example of what we are seeking and thats change! Plant those seeds and watch how they grow! And I know most of you do not want that to happen!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  66. Sherrell

    I agree wholeheartedly with this move. Young black males in the school need this. Being black in America means more than a "skin color". Speak about what you know.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  67. Nick


    I believe that the first step is to have a more stable and caring homelife with parents who care. If a young black male needs a black mentor to guide him it's a great second step.

    We need more African-American families to take a more active role in guiding their children down the right path, so we can stop seeing stories about 12 year olds arrested at 3am for selling drugs on the corner.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  68. Scott

    Rather than more black men in the classroom, how about more black men in the household? The problems caused by fatherless children is the root of many social problems. I think if we are honest, that's what these kids need most.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  69. Elle

    I'm a white, female teacher with 19 years experience at the high school level. For the past 3 years, I have worked with at-risk, inner city black males. I can tell you that having more black male teachers is absolutely essential. Although I have a good relationship with my students, there is no way I can truly empathize with their experience. One of my colleagues is a black, male teacher, and he is absolutely treasured by the students and by the staff. I emphatically support the idea of getting more black men into the public schools to model strong moral values and the importance and relevance of academic achievement.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  70. J. Irons, Bx., NY

    When I saw these young black teachers teaching and mentoring the children, I just broke down and cried. I had one black teacher throughout my schooling and what a difference she made in my life. She taught us the National Negro Anthem, "Lift every voice." Even though she was a female, she was strong and taught us self esteem, and today, my self esteem is as high as the sky. These kinds of issues, I don't mind making a donation. Mrs. Dorothy Timmons was her name.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  71. Susan

    YES, but America needs black male teachers in all schools, not just for black male students. All of our american students would benefit from more male teachers and predominately white schools would benefit from a positive role model of black male teachers. Please remember our youngest little children would also benefit from more black male Early Childhood educators. Great report. Thank you!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  72. Cathy

    I think they should more black male teachers. It sets foundations in young black kids minds early on, which is so important. Because due to beyond there control they don't have that male figure in there house. I believe it will give confidience, motivation and gets them excited to learn and expand there minds to all sorts of education.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  73. frankhvalenzuela

    This is just one tool that we as a society may use in keeping our youth in the correct path towards adulthood. The main tool is the family structure that these kids have today.
    A school's inability to use corporal punishment or, have parents administer it is another area that needs modifcation or amending. In other words, a lot of these kids know that the teacher's hands are tied and that they (kids) can get away with a lot and not get in trouble.
    Reworking laws that have stricter consequences for young people before they get to the age of eighteen because a lot of times these kids commit the crime knowing how to play the system.
    The teacher is usually the one that loses everything – even if the accusations are fabricated and it is proven after the fact.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  74. Millennials project

    Yes, more black man as teachers, intellectuals, painters, activist, writers, fathers and positive role model will help the black community.I believe there is an identity crisis in the black world.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  75. Walt

    I think that having Black Men in the classroom is an awesome idea. I am first of all always for the idea of saving these young children, especially African American children that need to see a strong black example because many black fathers are not in the homes or even the lives of these children at all. They need education instead of most of this music and these movies that is out there misleading them. These different forms of entertainment preach to them to be weak and do crimes and speak ill words from their mouths. So yes we need more strong Black Men in the classrom to teach them properly how to learn and be confident that they too can be great!

    June 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  76. Sarah

    Wow what a great story... my husband and I took in a black male at the age of 15 to try to help him have a better chance than the streets offered him... he is 22 now and doing well... but throughout the time that he lived with us and to this day (in my opinion) , it is obvious that he craves a Black Male role model.... to get a re-assurance that he can make a difference for good in this world.... He never knew his father ...
    In my opinion, the lack of good male role models is the Major problem affecting the future of Black children today... they need Mothers AND Fathers who really care... Children need to be cherished and molded with the love of parents who are hands on... and always there to share life with them.... to quote the Beatles "All We Need Is LOVE" true love...

    June 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  77. Randy Lawson

    It really shouldn't matter the color if the Educator, it's what the student takes away from each class and Educator, The Professors that get involved more with each individual student are the ones to be praised. Not for their color but their dedication to each students developement.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  78. Neanderthal

    Hello Tony,

    I think that the black teachers entering and working in the field can only help our floundering education system. They offer a more balanced image of civic contribution to the public and themselves. It reveals the potential genius of those who sincerely care about this country.
    It would be great to see a black nominee for the Nobel Prize in science and medicine more often. I know they are capable of achieving this. Have a peaceful and productive week.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  79. Rev. Larry Fryer


    June 22, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  80. Boyde Greenaway

    Black males have been in crisis in this country since slavery. In this post civil rights era a lot have change but there is still much work to be done. A major issue to be addressed is the image of black men in our society. Many of our black male students in this country thinks that success means wearing a sports jersey or being in a rap video. They need to be exposed to other versions of success. Putting more black males in the class room is a good imitative for two reasons. The first is that it can inspire them to also become teachers which in turn means they will pursue a college education. Secondly, no one can connect to black males like other black males who can be role models.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  81. Eugene D> Allen

    Regarding your spot on Black Male Educators:

    Please research the Claflin University program titled; "Call Me Mister". It is a program to prepare black maes to go into the classroms to fill the void that exists. Not too long ago, while doing some mentoring, I found that the neeed for black males in the classrooms is punctuated by the fact that so many young boys are raised in single parent households where the mother is the central figure, or they are raised by a grandmother, aunt, etc. These boys then go to schools where the only males they come in contact with may be the principal and maybe the custodian. Throughout the day they are under the direction and supervision of women!!! Having males in the classroom gives them a male contact with whom they can bond and they can look to for guidance, suoervision and role modeling. If they are not in frequent contact with men they cand look towards as role models, how can they develop images of who they can aspire to be in later life?

    June 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  82. Debbie Swarthout

    Deat Tony,
    Thank you for hosting the broadcast about the positive influence of male black teachers in the classroom in the USA on CNN. There is no doubt that teachers have a lasting impact our development and the contributions that we make to society. Having more black male teachers in the classroom will raise the self esteem of many young black males and females who are trying to find a place of comfort and responsibility in this world. It will also remove some of the preconceived prejudice that members of other racial groups have about the role of young black men in carving a positive moral responsibility to our society.

    men in building our

    June 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  83. D Cook

    Let me answer your question in a few simple words Yes! Yes! Yes!
    it would absolutetly make a considerable difference.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  84. Thomas

    As a black male teacher I believe we can relate to minority and underprivileged students in a unique way, I believe that has a tremendous influence on their level of achievement. We are a valuable asset that is often overlooked by the school administration.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  85. R.Panniell

    As a retired Black teacher I understand and apreciate the influence we have on students. As with any educator and particularly those working with adolescence we have an obligation and profound honor to not only teach but to instil pride and dignity. BoB Trenton, N.J.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  86. Terry Dungan

    Growing up as a white male in Montgomery, AL during the 60s & 70s and desegregation, I was fortunate to have parents who did not push racial biases. I have a few favorite teachers who made a lasting impression on me. One that I happily recall was Mr. Ashley. A former Buffalo Bill, Mr. Ashley was an African American. His Race, however is not I remember the most. Though I can still picture the man in my mind, I recall how he appeared to care about us. He related to us on a level we were all very comfortable with.
    Another thing that I recall growing up is that we, as children, really saw no racial divides. Some kids were white, some were black, that was the end of it. we all played sports together, went to class together and shared the same teachers, white or black.
    Times are different now, I realize. It’s a struggle for my wife and I to shield our 3 sons from unfair racial issues that we see out here in SoCal.

    Still, I believe that all schools should realistically consider diversifying their staff to meet the racial structure of the student body. A school with 80% African American students may relate better to a mostly African American teaching staff.

    What’s more important than the race or ethnic background of a teacher is their character, heart, commitment and desire to help. In other words, a good teacher is good regardless of their color, not because of it. A good student will perform for a good teacher regardless of the race of that teacher.

    Two people going for a job: The best possible candidate should get the position. Equally matched candidates should then be judged on which will best fit the environment they are expected to work in. If Race is the guiding force for hiring a teacher because 10 or 15% of the students will relate better to them, that is simply governing by the exception and not for the majority. The needs of the majority should be examined first. If the majority of the student body would benefit by the hiring of and African American teacher, by all means, find the best possible African American candidates and pick one.

    Terry Dungan

    June 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  87. Boyde Greenaway

    I notice that some posters take the position that his issue should not be approached from the perspective of race. In my opinion, these posters do not understand the fundamentals of the problem. The issue is that our education system is not reaching a disadvantaged section of our population. Our country has had a bad history dealing with black males. We need to do our best to reach the next generation of black males and the people who are in the best position to do so are other black males who are examples of success. Now this cannot be done just in the classroom. It is also needed in the police and firefighting forces, in the financial industry, in journalism and many other areas. Like it or not, black children in the South Bronx do not relate to a white male teacher from the upper west side. They will better relate to a black male teacher from The Bronx.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  88. Veda McClain

    We are always in error whenever we attempt to repair or fix the inequities in education by simplifying the problems to one particular subgroup of our society. Education needs much more than simply more black male teachers. What is needed are honest individuals who run our schools, teachers who are passionate about what they do and are able to relate that information to students and their learning, students who continue to want to grow and learn, and parents who care enough to hold all parties accountable. As an educator and mother of five offspring who have attended high school in four different cities, it has been my experience that teachers who truly knew their content, who were comfortable in who they were, and who cared about all children proved to be the best teachers and the ones who inspired my children to want to learn from them. Having said that, I must also say that having a black male teacher has not always been in the best interest of my children. In fact, last year, my black male son who is in high school had a terrible experience with a black male teacher at a school that is nationally ranked in Louisville, KY. The teacher did not care if he learned, did not try to reach him, and made every effort to make a villain out of my son. In addition to that, the assistant principal and secretaries at the school worked to cover up for the actions of the teacher. While it was a less than desirable situation, it served as a learning experience for my son.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  89. Catherine

    I do feel that more African American male teachers would benefit male students however, any teacher can have an impact. The key, regardless of race, sex, color or creed is that teachers have to be willing to build relationships with their students. I am a white female who taught 8th grade for 8 years before leaving the classroom to head up a Positive Behavior Intervnetion Support (PBIS) intitiative in my district. Over and over again, I witness teachers who only see their role as getting kids ready to take the "big" test. In my opinion, this pressure has created tunnel vision and they don't correlate that greater academic success will occur if students feel supported and safe. Today's teachers have to realize that their roles as educators in today's society has changed. We have to be a nurturer first and a teacher second.


    Catherine A. Landry, M,Ed.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
  90. Roger Deeringer

    The need for more teachers of every ethnicity, gender and background are required for the full and diversified education of our children is great and should be addressed by any means possible. The African American male teachers need to be focused in the academic classroom, not in athletics or music. Solid role models, look to Colan Powell as an example, are needed and may come from the general community. Teachers of any gender and ethnicity should incorporate such role models into daily lessons, if the African American men cannot be found.
    On a larger scale, diversity is a necessary part of the American community and the world community. Focus on individual accomplishments and needs is the way for all peoples to live together profitably.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  91. Eugene D> Allen

    Please check out the "Call Me Mister" program at Claflin University. The program, in conjunction with CLemson Universityk, is designed to prepare black males to teach in public schools. So oiften black males come from single parent homes where they are raised by a mother or a grandmother, an aunt or sister. They go to school and the only black male presence may be the custodian and on occasion, a principal. So throughout the typical days, weeks and months, a boy may find himself in a female world and he is left without any routine male experiences. Having black male teachers in the schools would give the youngster positive role models to interact with in a structured environment.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  92. Paula

    I am very lucky to have a beautiful biracial grandson who is very intelligent and loves school. I pray that along his education path he will be lucky enough to be touhed by a strong black role model.

    June 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  93. Linda Plichta

    What is needed is not another government program that spends millions of dollars encouraging young black men to become classroom teachers. What is needed is for the black community to stand up and tell everyone listening that black men and women need to take responsibility for their actions and their children. I don't think that the government can attack the problem (low high school graduation rates among black teenagers) from the classroom. A child's role model needs to be at home.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  94. Debbie Swarthout

    Interesting comments! Sometimes we need the data to support reality. It's easy to get caught up in our our little worlds where homogeneity of ideas prevail. Two and a half percent – that is a significantly low probability for something to be occurring by chance alone. Something must be going on. Should the government step in. Yes!

    June 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  95. cindy

    I strongly disagree. This is the problem now. I don't care if someone is pink, green or purple so long as they are QUALIFIED to do the job. For so long now, we have used things like affirmitive action in this country until we as a country are about in ruins. Many black people seem to feel they are victims. Of what I am not sure. They are not. They have grown up in the greatest country in the world and many are unappreciative of that fact. Simply look at all those trying to get in. But that seems to be the mentality. Why can black people not look up to white people or anyone who has succesfully acheived their goals. Why should blacks only be able to relate to blacks.
    This story is nothing but racism in reverse. It is ok in this nation to be racist against other origins, especially white people. I see it everyday over and over. They gay people have a page on CNN, the blacks, where is "being white in america'? I have nothing against black people so they need to stop acting as if I do and
    realize going somewhere in life doesn't mean you are the right color but rather you have the gumption to do so!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  96. Debbie Swarthout

    Sometimes you have to experience being black to know what it means to be black. This is not about color. It's about being respected in the community. This in turn promotes a positive moral leadership within a community. One often learns faster from some one who is on the same wavelength as you. If two people are of the same race and grew up in a similar economic setting, there is a greater chance that common sense will be quite common after all. I don't see where the reverse racism comes into play. The issue at hand is why there are so few male black teachers in our country? Should the government step in to promote a moral leadership within African American communities? Yes!

    June 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  97. Bri P.

    YES, YES, AND YES AGAIN! There is much to be said for a qualified teacher of any stripe, but on top of those qualifications and dedication, a shared experience is that much more powerful–especially for a generation of young men abandoned by their elders. As a black female teacher, I know that I have been a role model to the young ladies I teach, and I want my boys to enjoy the same!

    June 23, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  98. Jay

    Does Tony Harris' brain think of ANYTHING else other than "black black race race black race"? Dear God man, you're obsessed. You've turned afternoons on CNN into a racist victim-fest in favor of black men.

    I suppose race sells, doesn't it Tony? Even when a black man is in the White House. But your constant shilling for black men/black people to be hired and favored etc. based solely on their race is insidious and racist and eventually, CNN will send you on your way for it.

    That day can't come soon enough.

    June 23, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  99. Anthony

    I believe without a doubt that more black male teachers can help our young community. I grew up in a stable home very succesfull and active mother and father, private schools etc. A mentorship program I went thru during elementary school for 1 year impacted me to the point where i feel a greater connection to those teachers and young men that went thru the process with me then I do to my father. They help.

    June 23, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  100. Jaynie

    Absolutely, black teachers will be a positive addition to the classroom for young black males. I have experienced it first hand and black males did well during the era when more black male teachers were present in the classroom. I think that it will solve a lot of the problems in the African-American Community.

    June 23, 2010 at 10:31 am |
  101. Anthony

    Yes more black men are needed. For two years I was the only black male elementary teacher in my school district. Today I can count on one hand how many we have in the district today. Some students don't see any black male educators until they get to middle school.

    June 23, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  102. jderby1941

    Whatever it takes. The young child helped by a male African American teacher may well grow up to find the cure for a disease my great granddaughter might suffer. That's why I and many other whites claim the scholarships to black colleges as one of my main charities.

    June 23, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  103. john

    It's time the blacks realize that education is limited to the imparting of information. It is the family that one should look to for role models and, while realizing black men have done a miserable job raising their children, it is still not the job of schools to be the moral guardian for your children. And I would not be so uninformed to accept that only black men can be a role model for black children. If blacks think that then they are wrong. Concentrate on good teachers that know their subject and leave the partents to accept the responsibilty of raising their own children

    June 23, 2010 at 10:43 am |
  104. Angela Parks Atl,GA

    I believe it is imperative for a young black male to see success face to face everyday that has the same skin color as his. A black male can teach young black males as well as speak to the debt of their soul simply by becoming a teacher.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  105. roderick m. farb petty

    Sometimes it is easier to relate and trust someone with whom you identify.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  106. Robert

    I think Bill Cosby started talking about black males being a large part of the problem 20 years ago. I think he said that it was time for black men to be MEN. Take care of your responsibilities, especially your children. You just said, too many black kids are raised by a single mother, grandmother, aunt, etc... The videos on MTV tell the whole story.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  107. Tim Barnes

    It's incredibly shortsighted to just propose there we need more African American males to teach African Americans. Maybe if we also had more African American males teaching White students we could help these kids overcome some of the biases that have been instilled in them.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  108. Oodell gordon

    It won't hurt! Why not try placing more men of color in these roles. If we start now, 10 years from now, we won't be discussing this. This may also influence students to become teachers based on their experience with a man of color as a teacher.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  109. Danny

    I don't think a black teacher will make a significant difference because if the kids are going back to their difficult neighboor hood and have no role model at home it won't affect that much.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  110. This is silly

    If a child can not look and see a good role model before them, regardless of race, then tough cookies. fueling racism is not helping these children. Raising them instead of cramming them into daycares may be the solution.
    Improving morals might be considered too people

    June 23, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  111. Amy

    As has been pointed out by the President and many others in recent years, we have an epidemic of black father's not taking part in the lives of their children. Young black men and women would greatly benefit from seeing a Black Male role model in the classroom.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  112. Dennis

    Is Arne Duncan off his rocker?! He talks a good game. However, by encourageing these young persons to go into the field of education is setting them up for failure and dissapointment! I am an education major and school districts are NOT hiring, regardless of your ethnicity. In fact, they doing just the opposite. Teachers across this country are being layed off!

    June 23, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  113. Travis

    As a black male teacher that has taught in both rural and urban districts, I have seen first hand the positive affect my presence has had on the young men who I've been honored to teach. While not all of our young black men are being raised in single parent matriarchal homes, many of them do not benefit from positive relationships with other black males who may represent something different from what they are accustomed to. I applaud Secretary Duncan's initiative and I support it whole heartedly.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  114. Lelia Ali

    Yes, we need more black teachers who takes an interest in our young black males. Having experience the absent of black male teachers within my son's growing up, I truly believe that this would have made a tremendous difference in his life.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  115. Debbie Jones

    Positive male role models are needed of all races in education. So many boys & girls do not have positive male role models in their lives. I had a teacher in elementary school who was black (I am white) and I had tremendous respect for him. He was a man of integrity, and made everyone understand that education was important. He didn't suffer foolish behavior from anyone in his class.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  116. mam

    I started working on getting my teaching degree a year and a half ago, because I felt the need and self-conviction to help children of the inner city, mainly black males! I am a black female and the mother of a 8 yr old son. I would LOVE to see my son have teachers who look like him, not just same gender. In his elementary there is ONE black male teacher in the classroom. In the 70's when I went to inner city elementary I can only remember two black male teachers, who WERE NOT coaches...SO SAD

    June 23, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  117. Melissa

    I definatly agree. I am a black student at a mostly white high school. So far, I've only had two black teachers, and both of them have taught me a lot. When I see a black person teaching with such eloquence and intelligence, it reminds me that black people are capable of coming out of the sterotypes. It's just a matter of trying hard enough.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  118. Ronda

    For some students it is critical to see people that look like them, and can relate to them. Education is failing, and we need to try new things, so no matter what someones, opinon on color is, we can all agree that what we are doing now is not reaching the African American male student, and we need to try something new

    June 23, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  119. Mike Hanks

    More good black male teachers would help but it doesn't stop there. Everyone needs good role models. We see bad moral and ethical role models every day on the media who seem to prosper. There are not enough examples of how good behavior results in a good life.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  120. obedell

    Yes, we need more black male teachers. There are great teachers black male teachers out there also but they are barred because of criminal records and the like. I can teach my Sunday School class but my past criminal record exclude me from being a real teacher, like 1 out 4 black males. Who better to stir young men away from the mistakes I made. Then someone who has been there and can tell the whole story.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  121. Chuck

    It is a very sad commentary that in the new millenium, in this supposed age of enlightenment, that we are even having this discussion. The fact is, we live in a multi-cultural world and our education system needs to reflect that. It is my hope that more black men will be inspired and encouraged to take up roles as teachers and mentors to black students certainly, but more importantly, to students of all colors. We all have much to learn from one another.

    June 23, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  122. Sheri

    I teach in a low income public school. As a white, female, 5th grade teacher, I teach in a very diverse school with NO teachers of color. No black men or women, no foreign men or women, and I teach in a school that is 40% ESL, and 40 % black. It is a shame for my students to have no role models of their own culture.However, every black man who volunteers seems to lack a formal vocabulary. Improper grammar is so common among African American men, ( and often women ) and makes it difficult to teach proper language skills to our students. Before we encourage just any black man to rush into the classroom could we encourage a formal language education I want the role models for my students, but I want properly educated ones!

    June 23, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  123. Christopher Smith

    I am white myself, and I would absolutely love to see more black men teaching in the classrooms. I know that there are a lot of black women teachers, and I noticed your statistics forgot to mention those numbers. I am so proud of how far black people have come in such a short time in history. I know we still have some work to do, but I feel we are on the right track. God Bless America!!!

    June 23, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  124. richie

    when was that last time anyone even heard a natives point, or even seen a native in a school say in new york or LA. when i went to Ohio we were the big story at the local newspaper. so back to my point at least black teachers are have enough population to be talked about.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  125. Ron Cox

    I am an African American High school teacher at a small town in Pa. The excuse that I have heard for years is the inability to find qualified blacks to teach. That has been a convenient excuse for decades. Its the excuse for those to take care of family members and friends to place them in teaching positions. As long as school boards are predominately white,inequalities in hiring practices will remain at the forefront.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  126. Sharon G.

    My father was a black male teacher and administrator for over 40 years. He passed away at age 82 last summer. It was amazing how many of his former students-both white and black-came to his funeral and told our family what a great impact my dad had on their lives. As a black male teacher in the South during the Civil Rights era and beyond, my father not only was a postive role model to black students, but to many white students who were interacting for the first time with an educated black man in a position of authority and respect. Yes, we definitely need more black male teachers! It allows children to be introduced to intelligent, accomplished black men at a young age, therefore nullifying so many stereotypes.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  127. Jeff

    We need more black men in the home as head of the family as husbands and fathers. Haveing more black male teachers to offset the absence of black men in homes may help, but it is not the solution to men who do not fulfill their roles as husbands and fathers. As God is father of us all, men are supposed to be the head of the family. Until men of all colors step up to fulfill the roles God intended, cultures aorund the world will continue to suffer.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  128. Malia Morris

    YES!! African American men in K12 to post graduate and professional school classrooms are essential. There are many highly intelligent, committed, and thoughtful Black men at various stages of their own education who would do well as professional educators. Popular culture must acknowledge the important role of teachers at every level. Salaries must increase. Young African American men must be assisted in their K12 studies so that college and graduate school as training for the teaching profession is possible. Why should young Black men sacrifice strong earnings to "help the community"? Double K12 teacher compensation!! I am a middle-aged, mid-career high school science teacher. I love the work, however, am grossly underpaid. My colleagues and I welcome all young Black men to the profession.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  129. Elijah L.

    I am a student in high school in Maine and I have never seen a black teacher or principle throughout my entire schooling. I never even thought about this problem until now but now I realize how much of a problem it is. Although the majority of teachers are women, I have always done better in classes taught by male teachers. If the government focuses on this problem, maybe we can create a more diverse society starting with our schools, and change our ways

    June 23, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  130. Alex

    Yes this is definitely one of many solutions to these problems. As an educator, we do need more Black males in the classroom to model behavior for these young men...many of whom have great potential but no one to mentor or foster it. As a Black female, I can only model behavior for these young men as a maternal role model, but many are accustomed to always having a female "tell them what to do." If you look at statistics, many of the Black males are incarcerated. We sure are not teaching these men about the proud history of the many successful Black men in this country. Media and even education have both forstered negative conotations with being a Black male in Amerrican society. More Black male teachers...yes! But we also need to have more positive feedback from the other more dominant races in the classroom towards these males who still seem to stereotype them as another statistic by their appearance or the fact that they expect them to be in Special Ed classes.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  131. Barbara E Bj

    You quoted someone who mentioned Black custodians in what sounded like a less-than complimentary way - I only heard part of the comment, so I am not sure....

    But, while I agree completely that children need to see more black male role models in the classrooms, I do so hope that we don't fall into the trap of thinking that any job that anyone does is "less than" so to speak.

    I have to tell you, I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, the 1st to arrive in the vestibule of my elementary school every day, and on this one day, I was doing a little dance step that I had fashioned myself. The custodian came in to the area and I showed off my dance steps which he immediately praised. And, yes, he was Black. And, he kept me company for a few minutes, talking to me about how important it is to get a good education so that when I grew up I could go on to create even more wonderful dance steps or whatever else I wanted to do "instead of having to be just a custodian like him..."

    I thought he was so nice. It took me YEARS to realize that he was NOT "just a custodian." He was a very nice man to a little girl who he may or may not have known needed a little encouragement like that because she felt very alone in that big school.

    I wish, sometimes, for people to recognize that there is NO "JUST" in front of any job even though the ones doing the jobs (including me at times) might put that word there at times. I really wish for the rest of us to see the person and NOT the job the person does.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  132. Rosa Lucas

    I dropped out of high school during my junior year, got married, divorced 7 years later, with 3 children to raise on my own. I moved out of state to find better educational opportunities and I found the most wonderful vocational school that prepared me for everything - even where to place my purse during an interview. At this school I met this wonderful male black teacher that to this date, we remain friends. My first assignment for him was typing a letter for a Judge to help another student get workfurlough or education. He made me type and set up this letter 20 times (I almost cried, but my pride wouldn't give him the satisfaction). This lesson made me one of the best executive secretaries, adm. aides, etc. He still remains a teacher and has helped hundreds of able and disabled people to be someone!! I SAY YES, YES, YES, WE NEED MORE BLACK MALE TEACHERS IN THE CLASS ROOMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  133. Halli`e

    Tony, I think it is a great Idea to have black male teachers in the classrooms. It would be good for both the student and teacher. It would make a big differents in the student life. These young men need roll models who are just not NBA`s etc but BA and MA`s that receive five figures pay check while changing the live of those who for now have No figures at all.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  134. Theresa Thompkins Blalock

    My late father was a teacher in the Cleveland Public School system all my life and I was proud of the sacrafice he made financially to be a role model in the 50's, 60's,70's and 80's. I met many of his students who loved and appreciated his tough love and learned to be responsible role models themselves. I miss my father and I will never forget him. His legacy lives on. God bless the teachers!

    June 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  135. Vince

    Black male teachers and Black administrators are definitely needed in the education environment. Many Black youth do not and cannot relate to many of their Caucasian teachers. Both live in different worlds. Although this truth exists, those in the position to hire often exclude teachers and administrators of color and hire those who they are most comfortable with – their own.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  136. Dave Enos Sr.

    I am a 68 y. o. white male who taught in a Virginia Correctional Center. Approx. 80% of my students were black. When I retired most stated I changed their outlook and was a positive influence for them. Not withstanding that fact, I believe black male teachers could influence change in young black attitudes to the point many of them will not end up incarcerated. More male teachers of all races and ethnicities would provide positive influence on all youth and produce higher graduation percentages! Secretary Duncan has the right focus and I hope it expands!

    June 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  137. Debbie

    While too many of our young people are sliding downward, it is true that African-American male youths are in danger. That said, to blame their lack of educational success on the race and/or gender of their teachers is to oversimplify a huge problem whose social, economic, moral, historical, cultural, and institutional origins defy quickie solutions. We must tread so carefully here, for we do not eradicate racism and its effects by simply changing targets. For I might as easily argue that, because of a black male teacher's racial bias, my white son cannot access education. Do we really want to go here? Do we?

    June 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  138. Roy Don Juan Droddy, Ph.D.

    Tony, I am the CEO & Founder of Prison Watch International & work closely with prisoners and your piece really hit home as I so many of the black prisoners tell me that they had no contact with fathers or other black role models in their lives except gang members. So in most cases they resorted to crime or other unacceptable behaviors. I and my organization support the urgent need for black role models early on in black youths lives. Right on!

    June 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  139. Reverend Ira L. Lewis

    You know it is a shame that we so soon forget things. I remember here in Texas when there were test given to teachers Statewide for the purpose of ousting African-American teachers from our public school system. We lost a great number of Black teachers, especially Black Male teachers. Black male principles were demoted to teachers and then forced out of the public shool system. How soon we forget these things and this just happened in the seventies and eighties. I know that this happened Nationwide. Just recently, a few years back in Nebraska, I believe it was in Lincoln, a Black male educator was so disgusted because of the unfairness of the education of Black children that suggested that we go back to seperation in school; go back to Black teachers teaching Black children so that they will get a wholesome well-rounded education and knowing who they are. We as Black African-American people need to be steadfast in who we are from generation to generation. There is always a disconnect of us from one generation to the other...

    June 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  140. Carter

    I am a female African American educator with more than 31 years in, and I can you tell things are a lot different now than they used to be except in ONE department. We have always had a shortage of MALE educators at the elementary level. I would love to see more MEN teaching our younger children, and diversity should be prominent. Not just lalck and White, but other cultures as well. There has been so much teacher bashing over the years, but no one bashes the administrations and school boards for the political games they play, and no one bashes the people who give birth to and or raise our children.Since we have to "take them as they come", I say to ANYONE who apsires to be an educator these days,you need to really want it, be a little bit "nuts", have a very strong backbone, and prepare to struggle financially. I have loved my job since day one, but the thought of leaving is looming. Hire African Am. men, White men, Mexican/Latino men, any men you want. Just make sure whoever you hire is up to the task. Educating our children in the USA is another BATTLE we cannot afford to lose.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  141. Vincent Dave

    Hey Tony,
    Black teachers are seriously needed. My mom taught for 31 years and made a difference as the only black educator in her school. She listened, she cared and made her class a success. That alone has made me continue to graduate school so that I may follow in my mothers footsteps. Black students need a familiar shoulder to lean on and to learn from which motivates me everyday.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
  142. Randy Lambert

    Why do we focus on a race when we are attempting to address a problem. This issue is based on individuals and should not be presented as a race issue. The implication of the race issue suggests that it is only hard to grow up and achieve success if you are black. I can assure you that is not true. Being a HUMAN is the criteria that indicates it will be difficult to grow up and be successful.

    I believe education is the most important thing we can give a person and am for anything that promotes education opportunities for all who qualify as a human.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
  143. Erik R.

    Good afternoon Tony.

    I am a black male teacher from KY. I am currently preparing to enter my third year of the profession and I must tell you, it has been a struggle. In my first year, after building a great rapport with the faculty and students I was unvoluntarily transferred to another school. This past school year, I was once again transferred. This time it was due to Sec. Duncan's and President Obama's emphasis on the Race to the Top. The young black males that were in my classroom were more than happy to finally have a teacher that "looked" like them and could relate to the issues and struggles that they face. I am glad to have a job but the group that loses in this are those young men. I have begun to realize why so many of my race choose not to enter into the education profession. It has become corrupted by money and that is a shame.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  144. Sandra

    I am thrilled by the initiative. Our classrooms should reflect the diveristy in our society! As a teacher with a disability, I have experienced the small differences I can make in the lives of those that can relate to me. Sometimes it's the little things, not in a lesson plan, that make the biggest difference.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  145. Kila B.

    as a black educated 23 year old woman, I agree completely we need more black men in the educational system period. Alot of people will clearly argue its not about race, but guess wat it is! Do a survey and see how Americans are still paranoid towards blacks....its proof through some of the response from viewers. Throughout my years in public school, we had a few blacks but their is still plenty needed to be done. Instead of talking, let's set up a program(of course monitored) to see the connection blacks share with many other minorites. However, we are so worried about wat Lauren is wearing on the Hills and which celebrity is getting married than try to fix the issue amongst our minority children. Then i will believe racism no longer exist....

    June 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  146. Vic Loh

    Why is it that Blacks and Hispanics think they are the only minorities that are suppressed? Walking a mile in an Asian Americans shoes is no less difficult, however we complain a whole lot less and expect to overcome the adversities with harder work and playing the cards in which we are dealt. My daughter graduated from college with Honors, has a Masters Degree and teacher's credentials, can't even find a job!
    If there is a disproportionate number of male Blacks in teaching, there is a disproportionate number of Asians playing in the NBA, sum total on 1.
    I too, want an NBA contract in spite of the fact that I am vertically challenged but I want the million dollar contract. You don't even want to get me started on the Arizona situation.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  147. Marjani

    Even as an African American woman, I can see the need for more black men to be present in the classroom. In all my years of schooling I've had 2 black male teachers including all my four years of college and I attended an HBCU. I can easily say that although I had dedicated white female teachers who have continued to be positive attributes in my life, even at 25, they were not able to give me what my only two black male teachers could and that was a level of confidence that black women need in general given all the adversities that may come our way.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
  148. richie

    to Elijah L. how about a native. not teacher but a native person?

    June 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  149. Yolanda

    I agree that we need more AA male teachers. I am 30 years old and only had one AA male teacher by the time I graduated HS. It gave me goose bumps yesterday to see young AA male educators teach our children, especially our young men. If it can affect me as a grown woman, I am sure it will have just as much impact on young AA children. As an AA child, we often do not get to see the AA male in a positive light on a daily basis. I think this is a great start and it will make a difference in so many of our young men's lives.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  150. Cameron Wilson

    Highly disagree. Are there statistics supporting the claim that the absense of black male teachers contributes to gang violence, drop outs, and fatherless homes? Regardless of whether there is or not, consider the backing logic to this idea: the government is going to start racially and sexually matching teachers to demographics of students in our schools. For the argument of acting as a "father-figure" in fatherless homes, are we now requiring our teachings to give parenting advice? Where in their job descriptions does it require anything other than teaching? And with that, why would they do anything other than just teach which leaves the question of why ANY teacher wouldn't work in the first place?

    Why stop there? Why not resegregate the classrooms by sex and color and only have the demographically relavant teachers teach for those classes? ...Black female teachers for black female students, Chinese male teachers for chinese male students; etc. I hope you can both cut my sarcasm with a knife and also see the insanity proposed by this line of thinking!

    June 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  151. Rich S

    I think what needs to happen first is , The Government needs to make Black Males responsible for the children they have . Meaning the Woman that has a child must put the fathers name on the Birth Certificate to get Welfare or any type of Aid . If this were to happen Black Males would have to get employed even at a average paying job such as a teacher . It seems like the Black Male is eitherthey make Millions or they do crime . I think the Welfare system turns a Blind Eye when it comes to the responsibility of Black Males Having children .

    June 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
  152. Otis Trotter

    While I don't believe increasing the number of black male teachers in the classrooms would be a panacea for all the problems facing the black community, I believe it would make a huge impact on bolstering the educational success of African-American males. A teacher that probably come from a similar cultural background to the black student is more likely to be able to identify with ,and empathize with the struggles and conflicts that confronts a young black male student who often does not have a positive male role model in his life.

    By increasing academic success which has a direct correlation to the avoidance of criminal activity,much progress can be made towards increasing employability , family stability and other measures of social functioning.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
  153. Yolanda

    The comments made by viewers act as if CNN is saying to pull the next Joe Bro off the street that is AA and let's make him a teacher! Come on People! We all know that a teacher must be properly educated to get a degree to teach America's youth. So I would appreciate if people would stop slamming AA males by saying he should know how to speak proper English.

    There are some White Americans who do not speak proper English at all times, such as "ain't" and "y'all". Where are they standing? In the classroom.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  154. Frank Simpkins

    For many African American children, African American teachers represent surrogate parent figures, acting as disciplinarians, counselors , role models and advocates. According to one study, low -achieving African American students benefit most from relationships with African American teachers (King). In the old segregated school system, Black children attended schools operated mostly by skilled Black educators. These teachers and administrators were better credentialed and more experienced than their White counterparts (Southern Education reporting service, 1959). With integration came massive layoffs: 38,000 African American educators, in 17 states lost their positions as teachers and administrators between 1954 and 1965 (Holmes; King). Things haven't been the same since. as recently as the 1995-96 school year African American teachers comprised only 7.3 percent of the teaching force in public schools (National Education Association, 1997); "Between the Rhetoric and Reality" Lauriat Press, p56.

    June 23, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  155. Elliott Adams


    I am an African American male whose HS principal was an African American male. He once told me back then, "You would think that being a principal [teaching] would make you revered among colleagues, community members, etc." These words had little significance until I decided to teach. In many cases, AA male teachers are respected by their school community as professionals. They, too, in turn, work hard to earn that respect.

    Skeptics, however, within the same communal cohort may mistrust their abilities. Qualified, educated African American male are certainly competent enough to teach, but wise enough to weigh their options on a scale of career sacrifice. Teaching is a noble, admirable and honorable profession. However, these men must consider the dangers of educating children and their own careers against the dangers of leaving these children uneducated. What these men are not being told is that all schools are not created equal.

    Best Regards,

    Elliott W. Adams, M.Ed.

    June 23, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  156. AJ

    Black male teachers are needed. Any positive Black male role models in resource challenged communities with high Black populations are needed. Often times, children want to become what they see – if all they see is athletes, entertainers and those who make it the best way they can through illegal activity that’s limits their visible options. There is beauty, strength, power and balance of spirit and energy when a Black male in on the scene.

    June 24, 2010 at 12:51 pm |

    Black males as positive role models in their own communities will reinforce positive images among Black youth and have a much needed residual effect.

    June 26, 2010 at 6:54 am |
  158. Cleo

    It is so sad that some people will continue to argue with the need for more males and specifically more black males in the classroom. The research shows that when children are given positive role models who look like them and to whom they feel a kinship culturally, they will respond. I coordinate a program of over 100 mentors placed in 17 schools in SC and little black boys have repeatedly responded positively through changes in behavior and grades when paired up with strong black males. Either we are interested in what actually works for boys (note the white male dropout rates are also increasing) and encourage more men to become educators or we can continue to see failure as workskeep saying that the emphasis should not be on hiring more people should look to hire "qualified" teachers rather than black teacher or

    June 26, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  159. Cleo

    It is so sad that some people will continue to argue with the need for more males and specifically more black males in the classroom. The research shows that when children are given positive role models who look like them and to whom they feel a kinship culturally, they will respond. I coordinate a program of over 100 mentors placed in 17 schools in SC and little black boys have repeatedly responded positively through changes in behavior and grades when paired up with strong black males. Either we are interested in what actually works for boys (note the white male dropout rates are also increasing) and encourage more men to become educators or we can continue to see failure. Just imagine if there were no or few white female teachers in the classrooms how the conversations and responses would be so different. Such a situation would simply not be accepted.

    June 26, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  160. trevor

    to my fellow educators, parents and taxpayers. it is a very racist practice to recruit/target qualified, black males into teaching, but if you have ever seen the positive impact made by a black male teacher, on all would have to suspend this belief.

    June 30, 2010 at 6:03 pm |