Dwindling Numbers of African American Male Teachers Prompt Philadelphia Educator to Launch Initiative to Mobilize 1,000 Black Men


(TIML NEWS) It’s no secret that African-American and other nonwhite teachers make up just a small percentage of the nation’s educators. An even smaller percentage of those educators (2 percent, to be exact) are African-American males.

That’s why veteran Philadelphia teacher Sharif El-Mekki, who launched the Fellowship: Black Male Educators For Social Justice, is working to mobilize at least 1,000 Black American men to show up on the first day of school to serve as positive examples for city youths. By 2025, El-Mekki said he hopes to achieve an even loftier goal — grow the number of Philly’s Black male educators three times over.

“We just see all these holes in the pathway to divert people,” said El-Mekki, who also serves as principal of Mastery Charter School-Shoemaker. “If we have a high percentage of Black boys dropping out of our comprehensive high schools, that’s a leak. If we have folks not prepared for college, that’s a leak. Our Black boys aren’t being told, ‘You’re a great leader, why don’t you lead in a classroom?

The Tax King spoke of refers to the invisible burden carried by Black and other nonwhite teachers across the nation who are tasked with addressing several issues involving African-American students. These teachers, who again make up just 2 percent of the nation’s teaching force, are expected to act as school disciplinarians, under the assumption that they can better handle behavioral issues involving Black students, prep minority students for the racism they may face in the real world and serve as the spokesperson for cultural diversity.

 “We need a diversity of voices, a diversity of thought, particularly around who makes decisions about our children,” said Will Hayes, a Fellowship member who works as principal of Mastery-East Camden Middle School in South Jersey.

So far, the Fellowship, which was born out of monthly meet-ups at 48th Street Grille in West Philadelphia, has convened five times and hosted a career fair, Philly.com reported. The nonprofit now boasts 50 paid members and has plans to implement chapters in 10 high schools across the city. Bravo!!!!! Sound off below!!!