Commentary: Chicago Forward — Black and Latino male teachers are crucial role models

Trinity Youth
Black male students who stay in school and graduate often have inadequate academic literacy skills, leaving them unable to succeed in postsecondary education and secure jobs that pay a living wage.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” status=”published” publish_date=”” class=”” id=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” gradient_start_color=”” gradient_end_color=”” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center” linear_angle=”180″ background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_blend_mode=”none” video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” border_radius=”” box_shadow=”no” dimension_box_shadow=”” box_shadow_blur=”0″ box_shadow_spread=”0″ box_shadow_color=”” box_shadow_style=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” background_type=”single” gradient_start_color=”” gradient_end_color=”” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center” linear_angle=”180″ background_color=”” background_image=”” background_image_id=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend_mode=”none” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” filter_type=”regular” filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″ last=”no”][fusion_text columns=”” column_min_width=”” column_spacing=”” rule_style=”default” rule_size=”” rule_color=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]

[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=”” text_color=””]I[/fusion_dropcap] graduated from a selective enrollment high school within Chicago Public Schools in the 1980s with an impressive academic record, and I was headed to college as a finance major. Although I had considered multiple professional paths, teaching was not one of them.

Like many academically high-performing African American and Latino young men, I was not recruited into the profession. This type of neglect leads to the ongoing absence of African American and Latino males in America’s elementary and secondary classrooms.

[/fusion_text][fusion_imageframe image_id=”1707|full” max_width=”” style_type=”” blur=”” stylecolor=”” hover_type=”none” bordersize=”” bordercolor=”” borderradius=”” align=”none” lightbox=”no” gallery_id=”” lightbox_image=”” lightbox_image_id=”” alt=”” link=”” linktarget=”_self” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]https://unashamedmedia.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Copy-of-ma-af-aa-4.png[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_text columns=”” column_min_width=”” column_spacing=”” rule_style=”default” rule_size=”” rule_color=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]

Black male students who stay in school and graduate often have inadequate academic literacy skills, leaving them unable to succeed in postsecondary education and secure jobs that pay a living wage.(E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)

[/fusion_text][fusion_text columns=”” column_min_width=”” column_spacing=”” rule_style=”default” rule_size=”” rule_color=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]

Teaching is a profession that demands we recruit the best and brightest African American and Latino male minds committed to providing a great educational experience to children across the economic spectrum. Moreover, teaching in elementary and secondary schools is one pathway to teach at the university level where there is also a noticeable absence of African American and Latino male professors.

It is common for African American and Latino boys and men to go from preschool through college without ever having had a teacher who looked like them.

In recent years, young African American and Latino males have expressed despair when I asked them to respond to the question, “Who are you?” One young man said, “I am a lost soul.” Another offered, “I never could look in someone’s eyes and see happiness when they look at me. All I would see is my reflection fading away.”

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” status=”published” publish_date=”” class=”” id=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” gradient_start_color=”” gradient_end_color=”” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center” linear_angle=”180″ background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_blend_mode=”none” video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_4″ layout=”1_4″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” border_radius=”” box_shadow=”no” dimension_box_shadow=”” box_shadow_blur=”0″ box_shadow_spread=”0″ box_shadow_color=”” box_shadow_style=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” background_type=”single” gradient_start_color=”” gradient_end_color=”” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center” linear_angle=”180″ background_color=”” background_image=”” background_image_id=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend_mode=”none” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” filter_type=”regular” filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″ last=”no”][fusion_imageframe image_id=”1709|full” max_width=”” style_type=”” blur=”” stylecolor=”” hover_type=”none” bordersize=”” bordercolor=”” borderradius=”” align=”none” lightbox=”no” gallery_id=”” lightbox_image=”” lightbox_image_id=”” alt=”” link=”” linktarget=”_self” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]https://unashamedmedia.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/unnamed-1.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”3_4″ layout=”3_4″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” border_radius=”” box_shadow=”no” dimension_box_shadow=”” box_shadow_blur=”0″ box_shadow_spread=”0″ box_shadow_color=”” box_shadow_style=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” background_type=”single” gradient_start_color=”” gradient_end_color=”” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center” linear_angle=”180″ background_color=”” background_image=”” background_image_id=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend_mode=”none” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” filter_type=”regular” filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″ last=”no”][fusion_text columns=”” column_min_width=”” column_spacing=”” rule_style=”default” rule_size=”” rule_color=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]

These young men may never, in the words of the sociologist W.E.B DuBois, discover the “latent power within them.” The research is clear that African American and Latino male teachers have a positive impact on the academic performance and college-going rate of boys of color.

While there is a stark need for African American and Latino male teachers, both groups of men continue to rely on others to educate boys who look like them. I, too, would have been guilty if years ago I had not read an article that chronicled the academic underperformance of boys attending schools in some of the city’s impoverished communities.

Over the past 25 years, two things have become clear to me. First, many boys are underserved in schools by teachers who are not prepared to push them beyond societal and cultural limitations ascribed to them. Second, academic underperformance for many children is embraced as the norm.

During my first year as a teacher I remember being horrified when I was informed that my school’s goal was that only 25% of all students read proficiently at the end of the school year. No one else expressed any shock at this goal.

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” status=”published” publish_date=”” class=”” id=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” gradient_start_color=”” gradient_end_color=”” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center” linear_angle=”180″ background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_blend_mode=”none” video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” border_radius=”” box_shadow=”no” dimension_box_shadow=”” box_shadow_blur=”0″ box_shadow_spread=”0″ box_shadow_color=”” box_shadow_style=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” background_type=”single” gradient_start_color=”” gradient_end_color=”” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center” linear_angle=”180″ background_color=”” background_image=”” background_image_id=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend_mode=”none” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” filter_type=”regular” filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″ last=”no”][fusion_text columns=”” column_min_width=”” column_spacing=”” rule_style=”default” rule_size=”” rule_color=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]

State legislation has been proposed that would increase the number of bilingual public school teachers by providing a yearly $5,000 college grant for up to 800 high school students who graduate with a state seal of biliteracy. But it also is imperative for lawmakers to propose legislation to attract African American and Latino males to the teaching profession — currently those groups constitute a mere 2% of the elementary teaching population in Illinois.

We must communicate to young men that teaching is men’s work too.

This is one message I will deliver to the approximately 700 males attending the seventh annual CPS Young Men of Color Summit at the University of Illinois at Chicago on March 13. Addressing the teacher shortage and strengthening the diversity pipeline without a specific focus on African American and Latino males will not bode well for young boys of color who could benefit from learning from men who look like them that high academic performance offers many rewards. As I have, many will discover that being part of the teaching profession itself can be one of those rewards.

Alfred Tatum, Ph.D., is dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and director of the UIC Reading Clinic.

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Share this post

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on email
Email
Related Posts
Scroll to Top

WELCOME TO UNASHAMED MEDIA

The newest justice centered tool of Trinity United Church of Christ committed to producing and curating stories to inspire the heart and challenge the mind.

It is our hope to truly reach all nations, teaching people to use love as the first tool in solving the myriad of problems we face.

Sign up to receive updates. Don't miss out on incredible content