Alumnus Travis J. Bristol Discusses Dearth of Black Male Tea... | Teachers College Columbia University

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Alumnus Travis J. Bristol Discusses Dearth of Black Male Teachers

On the Washington Post's "Answer Sheet" blog, Travis J. Bristol (Ph.D. '14, in Education Policy),  a research and policy fellow at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE), discusses the dearth of black, male teachers in American public schools and offers some suggestions for policymakers.

Bristol notes that slightly more than 2 percent of public school teachers are black men, while more than half of all public school students are children of color. Teachers of color are disappearing from schools, despite evidence that students of color who are taught by teachers of the same race do better on standardized exams than those who are not.

Bristol writes that in his survey of 27 black male teachers, he found that "the socio-emotional challenges black male teachers faced were not enough to drive them from their schools. The nine black male teachers who left their school or the teaching profession cited having to "police" students rather than "teach" them. And they reported "teaching under poor working conditions – specifically dysfunctional administrators... Black male teachers described an environment of hyper-surveillance by administrators, continuous observations where the focus was on complying with singular ways of teaching and adhering to a scripted curriculum."

Bristol concludes: "As federal, state, and local policy makers, as well as institutions of higher education and foundations industriously search for new initiatives to increase the diversity of the teaching workforce – they may well benefit from, first, understanding the experiences of male teachers of color."

Bristol taught high school English in New York City public schools and was a teacher educator with the Boston Teacher Residency program.

LINK:  Black male teachers: There aren’t enough of them

Published Wednesday, Apr. 29, 2015