A game-changing movement spiraling across the nation is expected to inspire and cultivate respect for education among young black male students. Imagine 80,000 African American male teachers ready to educate, mentor, and guide young inner city students into the future. That’s exactly what the TEACH Campaign has set out to do: encourage 80,000 African American males to pursue careers in education, specifically in the classroom, by the year 2015.
In a recent interview with Senator Anthony “Tony” Hill, Democratic Minority Whip of the Florida State Senate, Politic365 got an insider’s look at the power and profound impact that this initiative can have on communities of color and the nation at large.
Senator Hill told us that part of his enthusiasm for TEACH was underscored by his support of President Obama’s education initiative, as relayed during the State of the Union Address. “Just the mere fact that at the higher education level, we’re cutting out the middle man [for] college loans…that money will go straight to the student,” he said. “We’re talking about almost $31 billion that will come back now to individuals who are trying to get a degree in higher education.”
Senator Hill’s vision of the future of education in this country, particularly among Black people, can be described in one word: empowering. Just as it is empowering to enable students to take financial control over their academic futures, so too is it empowering to provide them with the tools and resources they need to become successful teachers in the modern age. That’s the purpose of the TEACH Campaign, an Administration supported national teacher recruitment campaign designed to encourage students to choose teaching careers and to celebrate and recruit more diverse, highly qualified teachers.
On January 31, Senator Hill joined U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and noted film director, producer, writer and actor Spike Lee, among others, during a TEACH town meeting at Morehouse College. To execute the campaign, a distinguished Board of Directors has been assembled and includes: Jeff Johnson, MSNBC contributor; Dr. Roy Jones, founder of the “Call Me MISTER” Program; Oscar Joyner, Tom Joyner Foundation; Tommy Dortch, former National President of 100 Black Men; and John Jackson, the Schott Foundation. Senator Hill is the only elected official on the Board and will handle Policy Issues associated with this endeavor.
The pilot program for TEACH will begin on March 24, 2011 in Florida with the state’s four Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Edward Waters College, Florida A & M University, Bethune-Cookman University and Florida Memorial University. According to Senator Hill, TEACH will be partnering with the “Call Me MISTER” program, founded by Dr. Roy Jones from Clemson University, in its roll out.
When asked about his motivations for participating in this effort, Senator Hill said that it was imperative for people to “operate outside the box [to] infuse 80,000 Black men inside the classroom.” He also spoke about the need for young Black students to have appropriate Black rolemodels, teaching them not only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but respect, self-esteem, and the importance of education.
Senator Hill acknowledged that today too many young Black men are focused on getting into the entertainment business, playing football and basketball that “we get so caught up in majoring in the minors that we forget about majoring in the majors.” The goal of TEACH is to reduce and reverse the detrimental impact that the disparate ratio between Black teachers and students has on our communities.
More information about this innovative campaign along with public service announcements by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and John Legend, and a new interactive “pathway to teaching” tool, can be found at www.teach.gov.
Finding more than 8,000 teacher job listings on the site is easy; enrolling celebrities, educators, and political leaders to jump on board this ambitious goal, effortless; ensuring 80,000 Black male teachers find a way into the hearts and heads of Black students across America…priceless.