Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Duncan and Obama Call for More Black Men to Become Teachers

At Morehouse College two days ago, Arne Duncan and filmmaker Spike Lee issued a call for more black men to become teachers.  Duncan told the town hall audience that more than 1 million educators are expected to retire in the coming decade and that federal officials are hoping to harness that opportunity to create a more diverse teaching work force, noting that less than 2 per cent of the nation's 3 million teachers are black men and with Teach For America members going into more and more urban schools, those numbers are surely dropping.

Having been vilified in the press for years and sensationalized as responsible for crime, fatherless children, drug abuse, and welfare fraud, today's black man seems like an ideal candidate to become a teacher and be vilified by the press for the country's school system.  "It seems like a natural fit," said LastStand founder Myron Miner who lauded the Morehouse town hall as a way of bringing new people into teaching.  With black men blamed for so many of the nation's ills for so long, they certainly have the experience needed to excel in the classroom.   Plus, anybody who survived Birth of a Nation won't bat an eye at movies like Waiting for Superman.

The education department also recorded commercials with Oprah Winfrey and John Legend talking about the influence that teachers had on their lives.  One would assume that it was a very negative influence, as both went to public schools, yet became strong supporters or Waiting for Superman and other attacks on public school teachers.

Duncan said that while many school districts are confronting layoffs and tight budgets, and teachers have lost many perks like a retirement free from work, teaching is still a great job and one that he wishes he had pursued.  

MSNBC contributor Jeff Johnson old the audience that being a teacher isn't considered "cool" in the black community and that perception must change.

"They look at business, engineering and law as professions that will make them better men, but the very profession that determines what the next generation looks like isn't even on their radar," Johnson said.

If what he says, is true you have to hope that Mr. Duncan and President Obama can investigate how teaching became a less than desirable job.  Maybe they could get John Legend and Oprah Winfrey to help. If they can find out who has been attacking teachers, maybe they can put a stop to it and make the job appealing for young black men.

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