CLEVELAND — Diversity in the classroom is an issue close to the hearts of many educators.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about eight in 10 U.S. public school teachers, or 79 percent, identified as non-Hispanic white in the 2017-18 school year. Less than 7% identify as black and only 24% are male.
In Cleveland, only 2% identify as black men.
All the while, school district demographics, including here in northeast Ohio, are much more diverse, with rapidly growing populations of black, Hispanic, and Asian American students, accounting for nearly half of the class.
The push to diversify educators is in full swing.
An organization called “Black Men Teach Cleveland” recently partnered with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to help encourage black men and other races to become teachers.
“We want black male educators, as well as other educators of all races,” said Bruce Ransom. “It’s very important that students have someone to look up to as a role model. And what better person than an educated black male to help guide their education in their learning and also their life choices?”
Ransom, an educator at CMSD for 27 years, is the president of Black Men Teach Cleveland. He said the group had a five-phase theory of action to help attract more black men to become teachers by offering them ways to help them grow professionally.
- To prepare
“I think it’s really important for us to be visible in the classroom because there are so few of us. I didn’t meet my first black teacher until I was in college,” Aaron Eatman said. , educator at Warrensville Heights City Schools. , said in the YouTube campaign video.
Black Men Teach Cleveland meets every second Thursday of the month to answer questions or address concerns. Thursday, February 10 is the group’s next meeting. Click here for more information.