Exploring the Roots of Black Schooling | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
News & Events Header

Teachers College Newsroom

Skip to content Skip to content

Exploring the Roots of Black Schooling: Daniel Harris (M.A., Sociology and Education)

Daniel Harris (M.A., Sociology and Education)
Daniel Harris (M.A., Sociology and Education)

‌Life before TC

Daniel Harris spent seven years in Washington D.C. before coming to Teachers College, studying psychology at Georgetown University, where he was an All-American in track and field, and working at SEED public charter school. He was drawn to the nation’s capital because of its rich history of black contributions to American society, and education in particular (for example Dunbar High School was the nation’s first public high school for Black students).  

Why TC 

While serving as a graduate research intern at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, Harris met executive director David Johns (M.A. ’06), who inspired him to come to TC and attend the College’s program in Sociology and Education. Harris wanted to explore the experiences of African-American men like himself. “A lot of times we read and hear from dominant discourses a one-sided view of the contributions of black males in education,” he says. “I wanted to learn from black males themselves about their opportunities and perspectives, particularly as teachers in K-12.”

TC Takeaway

For his master’s thesis, Harris, who is a member of Omega Psi Phi, one of the historic “divine nine” Black fraternities, interviewed members who teach in the D.C. area. “Black Greek letter organizations have contributed to education in meaningful ways since their founding almost a century ago,” he says. “I wanted to connect the dots between the historical contributions of black males and what they are doing today.” In particular, he says, his research suggested that these men may be better prepared than many for the challenges and stresses of teaching, and more likely to stay in the field. More broadly, Harris challenges the idea that black male teachers are expected to serve as role models; he argues that this frame is too narrow and devalues the substantive learning and leadership that black men can bring to the classroom.

What’s Next


Harris heads next to the University of California at Los Angeles to work toward a doctorate in Higher Education and Organizational Change. “I’m really interested in how different leadership attributes impact organizations, particularly in higher education,” he says. His long-term goal: To be a college president.  

 

Published Friday, May 1, 2015

Daniel Harris (M.A., Sociology and Education)
Daniel Harris (M.A., Sociology and Education)

‌Life before TC

Daniel Harris spent seven years in Washington D.C. before coming to Teachers College, studying psychology at Georgetown University, where he was an All-American in track and field, and working at SEED public charter school. He was drawn to the nation’s capital because of its rich history of black contributions to American society, and education in particular (for example Dunbar High School was the nation’s first public high school for Black students).  

Why TC 

While serving as a graduate research intern at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, Harris met executive director David Johns (M.A. ’06), who inspired him to come to TC and attend the College’s program in Sociology and Education. Harris wanted to explore the experiences of African-American men like himself. “A lot of times we read and hear from dominant discourses a one-sided view of the contributions of black males in education,” he says. “I wanted to learn from black males themselves about their opportunities and perspectives, particularly as teachers in K-12.”

TC Takeaway

For his master’s thesis, Harris, who is a member of Omega Psi Phi, one of the historic “divine nine” Black fraternities, interviewed members who teach in the D.C. area. “Black Greek letter organizations have contributed to education in meaningful ways since their founding almost a century ago,” he says. “I wanted to connect the dots between the historical contributions of black males and what they are doing today.” In particular, he says, his research suggested that these men may be better prepared than many for the challenges and stresses of teaching, and more likely to stay in the field. More broadly, Harris challenges the idea that black male teachers are expected to serve as role models; he argues that this frame is too narrow and devalues the substantive learning and leadership that black men can bring to the classroom.

What’s Next


Harris heads next to the University of California at Los Angeles to work toward a doctorate in Higher Education and Organizational Change. “I’m really interested in how different leadership attributes impact organizations, particularly in higher education,” he says. His long-term goal: To be a college president.  

 

How This Gift Connects The Dots
 
Scholarships & Fellowships
 
Faculty & Programs
 
Campus & Technology
 
Financial Flexibility
 
Engage TC Alumni & Friends