Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Preparing Black Male Teachers for the Gifted Classroom: Recommendations for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Preparing Black Male Teachers for the Gifted Classroom: Recommendations for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

Article excerpt

Currently, teacher education data suggest that few Black males are public school teachers (Aud et al., 2012; Toldson, 2011). For decades, this historically pervasive issue has captured the attention of many educational researchers, scholars, and policymakers (Bianco & Mitchell, 2006; Brockenbrough, 2012a, 2012b; A. Brown, 2009a, 2009b; J. Brown & Butty, 1999; Bryan & Browder, 2013; Howard, 2012; Lewis & Toldson, 2013; Lynn, 2006), and has remained at the crux of teacher education discussions, debates, and discourses; however, more work must be done. The Black male teacher recruitment agenda has even remained a relatively consistent platform throughout educational reform movements (e.g., Nation At Risk (Jones, 2009), No Child Left Behind (Jones, 2009), and The Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (Shakrani, 2007), and the establishment of national Black male teacher recruitment initiatives including Call Me Mister (Jones & Jenkins, 2012), The Griot Program (Okezie, 2003) and more recently President Obama's Black Men To The Blackboard (Bristol, 2014) that have increased the attention to this need and the number of Black males who become teachers (Huntspan & Howell, 2012; Irvine & Fenwick, 2011; Jones & Jenkins, 2012). Considering this overwhelming amount of attention given to the need for Black male teachers, we would have expected sweeping changes in the current K-12 teaching demographic (Toldson, 2011). The reality is that in 2015, only 2% of teachers were Black males, and this percentage is dwindling annually as public schools struggle to recruit and retain Black (male) teachers in a majority White and female profession where approximately, 75% of teachers are White females, 10% are White males, and 6% are Black females (Aud et al., 2012; Bryan & Browder, 2013; Irvine & Fenwick, 2011; Toldson, 2011; Williams & Bryan, 2016). This current teacher demographic trend illustrates that Black male teacher recruitment and retention numbers are even more scant when one considers gifted and AP classrooms where the presence of Black male teachers is virtually non-existent (Bryan & Ford, 2014).

Although HBCUs play a significant role in the preparation of most Black teachers for the public school classroom (Irvine & Fenwick, 2011), we do not know what role they play in the preparation of gifted educators, particularly Black male gifted educators. HBCUs ' role in the preparation of gifted educators is crucial if we are serious about closing the gap between Black male (and female) teachers who teach in gifted and AP classrooms and their White teacher counterparts (Bryan & Ford, 2014). Black educators' role is equally crucial (Ford, 2011, 2013) for recruiting and retaining culturally and linguistically different (CLD) students who are (and will be) selected to participate in gifted programs.

This article will provide avenues in which HBCUs can support and prepare Black male teachers for the gifted and AP classrooms. These ideas purport to close the gap between White male (and females) who teach gifted children and Black males who do not, but more importantly, translate into ways one can increase the number of Black gifted (and Latino) students and alleviate the underachievement among Black gifted students. First, the authors provide a discussion on the experiences of Black students in gifted education. This discussion leads to an exploration of what Black students need in gifted education and how most White teachers are unable to meet these needs. Second, ways Black male teachers can meet the needs of and support Black gifted learners is addressed, particularly Black males, in gifted classrooms. Third, myriad of issues concerning why few Black male teachers are gifted educators are presented. Fourth, the authors describe ways HBCUs play a significant role in the preparation of Black males for the gifted and AP classroom. Finally, recommendations are provided for HBCUs, specifically pre-service teacher education programs, and policymakers as a way to prepare Black male teachers for the gifted education classroom. …

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