Posted on February 2, 2011

Duncan Calls On Black Men to Become Teachers

Laura Diamond, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 31, 2011

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and filmmaker Spike Lee teamed up Monday to urge more black men to consider teaching.

More than 1 million teachers will retire during the next decade, according to federal estimates, and leaders have embarked on a nationwide drive to build a more diverse teaching force. {snip}

Teachers should look more like the people they serve, Duncan said. While more than 35 percent of the nation’s public school students are black or Latino, less than 15 percent of the teachers are black or Latino, according to federal figures. Less than 2 percent of the nation’s teachers are black men.

In Georgia, about half of the public schoolchildren are black or Latino, but only about 25 percent of the teachers are.

“Something is wrong with that picture,” Duncan said. “We’ve got to fix it. We’ve got to fix it together.”


Knowing some students don’t enter teaching because of the low pay, Duncan reminded them of programs that will erase their college debt if they work as a public schoolteacher for 10 years.

Duncan and other officials promoted the federal TEACH campaign, launched last fall to persuade more minorities and men to go into teaching.