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.