Getting More Men of Color to Teach Our Children Will Lift Our Communities

    Creating inclusive schools is not only about classrooms having students with a wide range of backgrounds and academic strengths-our teachers should also reflect the City’s diverse workforce and represent different ethnic backgrounds, languages, and cultures. However, only 8.3 percent of our 76,000 dynamic teachers are men of color, while around 43 percent of our students-about 430,000 boys-are male students of color.

    I am committed to increasing opportunities for highly qualified young men of color to enter the teaching profession. We’ve asked ourselves: how can we recruit, train and support highly skilled men and inspire them to choose education as a career?

    We’ve come together as a City – across the DOE, NYC’s Young Men’s Initiative, CUNY, the Mayor’s Center for Economic Opportunity, Teach for America, NYC Teaching Fellows, and other valued partners – to address this imbalance by recruiting more male teachers of color through the NYC Men Teach initiative. The initiative aims to recruit 1,000 males of color to work in our City’s schools by the 2018-19 school year.

    Yesterday (June 29), we kicked off NYC Men Teach with a hiring fair, networking opportunities, and a panel discussion. At this kick-off, men of color who are interested in teaching met with principals about potential job opportunities in their schools, and heard from seasoned teachers and industry influencers who offered guidance and insight on the teaching profession.

    One of the goals of this initiative is to enable students to see successful male role models of color in their classrooms. During a recent school visit, I saw students honoring “heroes” in their lives, an activity devoted to the men who’ve supported students during their academic career. Classroom activities such as these are wonderful first steps; however, we must make a concerted effort to get the men in our school communities to expand their involvement in the lives of students. Recruiting men of color to teach our children will help lift our families and our communities.

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    I have high expectations for the impact of the NYC Men Teach program. Not only will our future teachers influence their students, but through the program’s mentorship program and professional learning opportunities, male teachers of color will build their leadership skills critical in the classroom setting, and learn that their professional dreams are attainable. Most importantly, they will impart those crucial life skills to their students. I encourage men of color who are interested in becoming teachers to complete the NYC Men Teach interest form. Parents, families, and community members who would like to learn more about this initiative can visit the NYC Men Teach website.

    NYC Men Teach will have a fundamental impact on our students’ academic, social, and emotional growth. As a lifelong educator, a grandmother, and a New Yorker, I am excited about this effort and what it means for all students to see themselves reflected in the teachers who guide their learning and growth.

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