This Black History Month, Ed Trust honors the rich legacy of Black excellence in the classroom: Black teachers.
When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown v. Board decision in 1954, there were 82,000 Black teachers. But in the following decade, the number of Black teachers in the United States dropped drastically. More than 38,000 Black teachers and administrators in 17 southern states lost their jobs due to the closing of all-Black schools and the unwillingness of newly segregated schools to hire Black educators. These were dedicated professionals who were committed to educating Black children. They poured into their Black students knowledge and principles. They saw in their students promise and unlimited potential and taught them to the highest levels they could. Today, we still have not recovered from this expulsion of Black educators from the classroom — a mere 7 percent of our nation’s teachers are Black.
As a part of Ed Trust’s ongoing work around teachers of color, the assets they bring to the classroom and the challenges they face, we sat down with longtime educator and former Washington State Teacher of The Year and Milken Award-winner Nate Bowling to hear his ideas about the challenges surrounding recruiting talented Black teachers, the experiences that drive too many talented Black teachers out of the field, and what it will take to ensure that America’s teaching workforce reflects its student body.