Expanding Florida's pipeline for black male teachers
Three state senators today announced the expansion of a program aimed at producing more black male teachers for Florida classrooms.
"We're going back to the role model piece," Sen. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, told The Gradebook. "We feel if there were more black males in the classroom at the elementary level, a lot more of these guys would go ahead and matriculate and graduate."
Hill, who was joined at a Tallahassee press conference by Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, and Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, said Florida's four historically black colleges and universities - Florida A&M University, Bethune Cookman University, Florida Memorial University and Edward Waters College - have agreed to bring the Call Me MISTER teacher recruitment and preparation program to their campuses in the fall of 2012.
Back in 2008, five Florida community colleges and three Florida universities agreed to partner with the program, which is based at Clemson University. Hill said the addition of the HBCU's will further broaden the pipeline. He said the initial goal is a cohort of eight to nine black men at each of the four schools.
He said the expansion won't cost taxpayers additional money because supporters plan to tap private foundations for scholarships.
Asked why the program was needed, Hill, who is African American, pointed first to the hotly contested Schott report, which found grad rates for black males to be especially abysmal in Florida. Then he noted his own experience as a black male student with a black male teacher. "When he told me to sit my butt down, I sat down," he said.
Less than 1 percent of Florida's elementary school teachers are black men. Here's a story we did on the subject a few years back.