All Articles Tagged "black educators"
Many in the African-American community have pushed the need for black teachers, particularly males teachers, on many levels. But Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D., a tenured associate professor at Howard University, recently argued in The Root against the notion that the presence of black male teachers alone will improve graduation rates for black males.
In fact, he says even with an increase of black male teachers, there is no guarantee that black students would even have classes with these teachers. Toldson argues that “even in a district with a representation of black male teachers that is consistent with the representation of black men in the U.S. population, black male students would have little interaction with black male teachers.” He has data to back this up. He writes, “A black male student, who has had about 55 teachers from kindergarten to 12th grade across all subjects, could expect to have had one black male teacher in Detroit and three black male teachers in Memphis.”
Compare this to the 10 metro areas with the largest number of black people — New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles-Long Beach, Dallas-Fort Worth and Baltimore. Baltimore has the highest percentage of black male teachers with 5.4 percent. Los Angeles and Detroit have the lowest, with 2.3 percent writes Toldson. But he points out “[w]hen one connects the cities to corresponding graduation rates as presented in the Schott report, there is no compelling evidence that the presence of black male teachers alone will improve graduation rates for black males.”
Most Southern cities are more like Baton Rouge, La., which has a population of 439,013 (52 percent black), and less than 1 percent of the teachers are black males. ”The Urgency of Now: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males” from the Schott Foundation for Public Education, found that the graduation rate for black males in Baton Rouge is 42 percent.
And, he says, forget the misconception that black men don’t want to teach. “Selection biases within alternative teacher-certification programs, such as Teach for America, and well-documented deficiencies with national teacher-certification examinations thwart many black males’ ambitions to teach,” he reports. And many men in education choose a different path. Nearly seven percent of black men with a degree in education become educational administrators, compared with five percent for black women and white males, and only 2.8 percent for white females.
It’s an interesting read, providing a good deal of food for thought. Do you think the education system would be dramatically improved if more black men were teachers.
In the mid-1800’s, it wasn’t easy to be an African-American woman with professional aspirations. But Sarah Jane Woodson Early wasn’t just a hard-working and multi-tasking professional woman—she was a woman ahead of her time. Educating was her life’s passion and in 1858, she became the first African American female college professor. Throughout her life she taught, gave lectures and also worked as an author, black nationalist, and temperance advocate.
Born a free woman in Chillicothe, OH, on Nov. 15, 1825, Early’s upbringing served as the basis for her activist and academic spirit. Her parents, Thomas and Jemima Woodson, founded the first black Methodist church of west of the Alleghenies. They also founded Berlin Crossroads, a separate black farming community. Although there was never any supporting historical evidence, her father believed he was the oldest son of Sally Hemings and President Thomas Jefferson.
Early graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio at a time when her options for education were limited between two colleges. She was also one of the first black women to earn a college degree. Even in college she had a zeal for teaching. She taught at several schools founded by the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church while in school. In 1858, she was hired at Wilberforce College, an AME founded church and the first college to be African-American owned and operated. Her brother, Lewis Woodson, was one of the original 24 founding trustees.
During the Civil War, Wilberforce closed for nearly a year and welcomed her back on its faculty as an English and Latin professor when it reopened its doors. After her years of teaching at Wilberforce, she left to teach at an African American girls’ school in North Carolina in 1868. This year was not only a year for academic change for Early, but also a year of personal change as she also married Minister Jordan Winston Early. Her husband, one of the pioneers of African Methodism in the West and South, served as one of the subjects of her books with her biographic account of his rise from slavery. The couple moved to Tennessee where Early found a job as a teacher in her new environment. For the next twenty years of her career, Early taught wherever her husband preached. Her resume included teaching in several community schools, serving as the principle in four cities and giving over 100 lectures in five states. In addition, she was the national superintendent of the black division of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.
Early’s legacy is not a singular story of academic success; but an example to all black women with dreams of teaching. She is a black woman who didn’t stop with achieving her own education, instead she always strove to educate others no matter where she lived. Early broke the barriers for women academics in a time when there wasn’t much expected from women, much less a black woman. These days as the number of black women enrolled in college grows and black women professionals increase in the work-field, she serves as a reminder that whatever barriers black women may face, they can and will overcome them.
In honor of Black History Month and our special month-long look at “Pioneers In The Game,” MN Business will be publishing a series of features this month looking at historic Black Women Pioneers. This is the first in that series.
We’re highlighting Pioneers in the Game every day here on Madame Noire. Click here to meet all of our salutes.
Black women have a long and proud history of advancing the cause of education in America. Their groundbreaking accomplishments – particularly in higher education –inspire, encourage, and challenge not only black women, but people of every race, age, gender, and economic background to pursue their dreams. From the first black female PhD graduates to the first black female presidents of prestigious universities, the 7 women on this list are game changers in the world of education and beyond.
Dr. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander
In 1921, when Dr. Sadie T. M. Alexander graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School, she became the first black person in America to earn a doctorate in economics, and only the second black female to earn a doctorate in any area. Following graduation, Alexander enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and helped found the National Bar Association. In 1927, she was the first black woman to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Adding to this impressive list, Alexander was the first black woman to pass the bar exam, and when she went to work for her husband’s law firm, Alexander became the first black woman to practice law in Pennsylvania. In 1948, President Harry Truman appointed her to his Committee on Civil Rights, where she coauthored the Commission’s report, “To Secure These Rights,” which laid the foundation for Truman’s civil rights policy.