We need more Black men in our classrooms!
In the U.S. alone, less than three percent of teachers are Black men. Many efforts have been put forth to change this, such as North Carolina Central University’s introduction of The Marathon Teaching Institute, a program designed to increase the amount of Black male teachers and administrators in North Carolina schools, and the Black Men Teach Cleveland organization, which was created to encourage Black men to become educators in Cleveland.
Now the Orangeburg HBCU, South Carolina State University (SCSU), is also helping to increase representation in classrooms. SCSU recently received the three-year Life2 federal grant, $90,000 that will be used to develop the university’s Call Me MiSTER program. This program will be dedicated to creating a path for Black men wanting to pursue careers in education. The funding will help with recruitment, further professional development, and provide more internship and conference opportunities.
Dr. Roy Jones, Executive Director of the Call Me MiSTER program, stated, “We still believe that the talent is there, and if you cultivate it and develop it, that it will rise up and be able to give back to our communities.”
Jones told WISTV, “We have to change the image of education and the image of males being educators and teachers and really being community champions, both for their schools and in the community. I think there are stereotypical images of Black males, and we’re trying to flip that script...”
The Call Me MiSTER program started as a partnership among South Carolina colleges and has since been implemented in 15 schools across 11 states. Providing students with tuition assistance, academic/social support, and job placement, through this initiative, SCSU has graduated 400 fully qualified teachers and saw a 90% increase of Black male elementary teachers in South Carolina. Another South Carolina HBCU, Claflin University, also plans to implement this program.
The man who’s led Call Me MiSTER for over eight years, Dr. Rashad Anderson, is ecstatic about the change to come and is ready to work with the students. “It’s because being a MiSTER isn’t a job. It’s never been about a job, it’s never just been about a paycheck, and it’s not about summers off. Because in Call Me MiSTER, Call Me Mister is a calling. You have to be called into the classroom,” Anderson explained.
Black educators matter. Black male teachers matter. Representation matters. And we love seeing our people actively working to change the world. The school is currently accepting applications through April 15, 2023. Visit their website to learn more!