“Black Men Teach is trying to get Black men in elementary school classrooms,” Markus Flynn, executive director of Black Men Teach told KARE 11. “The reason we focus on elementary school is because there are studies that say the longitudinal impact that black teachers have is tremendous.” Markus says he got involved after seeing a report from Johns Hopkins University.
“One Black teacher in elementary school can decrease the likelihood of a Black student dropping out by up to 40%,” Flynn said. However, Minnesota is a state with one of the biggest achievement gaps in the country between black and white students.
“If you know a black male teacher in Minnesota, you know a unicorn,” Flynn said. “They almost don’t exist. There’s about 65,000 teachers in the state of Minnesota and about 95% are white. About 1.4% of that 65,000 are Black. They don’t stratify by race and gender, but if you do a conservative estimate, you’ll see that about half of one percent of all of the teachers in the state of Minnesota are Black Men.”
Mascuud Ali, a student at the University of St Thomas, who grew up in Hopkins told the news outlet about his experiencing growing up without any Black male teachers.
“In my entire life, I only had one man who was a teacher, and that was back in fifth grade,” Ali said. “I had one person who was of color back in second grade, which is better than most students; but I didn’t think, in my lifetime, that I would want to become a teacher.”
Ali is now a student fellow in the program. He has a mentor and an internship in a classroom. Flynn says that’s just the beginning.