This fall, students of color will for the first time in U.S. history constitute a majority of the nation's public school students. But teachers of color are only 17 percent of the nation's teaching force. Black men make up just 2 percent of the nation's schoolteachers. Diversifying the nation's teaching force--namely by encouraging men of color to join it--is in the nation's educational interests, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has emphasized for years.
A new program out of South Carolina's Clemson University is aiming to do just that. NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports on Call Me Mister, a program that mentors young black men and trains them to become teachers. By the fall the program, which seeks to convert young black men one at a time into someday teachers, will have placed more than 150 teachers in classrooms in eight states:
SANCHEZ: These men are intent on changing the lives of black boys who are struggling with school and with life. Like Marshall Wingate once did.
MARSHALL WINGATE: I actually could relate to a lot of kids because my father has been locked up. I remember seeing him beat my mom, I seen a lot that I shouldn't have seen and I actually kind of grew up too fast as they say.
SANCHEZ: Wingate, now 21, has been student teaching for a year sharing his story with boys he says desperately want someone to care about their struggles.
WINGATE: That's just my main goal. I really love kids at the end of the day, I love kids, it just brings me joy.
Listen to the story in full at NPR.