Houston-Education plays an important role when it comes to shaping our future, and it is very important that our youth is educated because our future lies in their hands. On July 10th, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s (TMCF) Teacher Quality Retention Program (TQRP) launched in Houston. The 2-week conference convenes over 200 Program Fellows from across the country and will host a platform for a conversation about HBCUs, males and education. This program has been occurring every year since 2009.
President and CEO, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. leads the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the only national organization representing nearly 300,000 students attending this country’s 47 publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The Teacher Quality Retention Program focuses on (HBCU) Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ males, (STEM) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math teachers, and new teachers in general. Black males get the opportunity to speak about their experiences in the classroom, will establish a network of peers in their strive to become National Board Certified teachers, and have the opportunity to participate in a STEM focused practicum.
In addition to, new teachers will have the chance to create unit plans, content trainings, and also prepare for their ultimate goal, which is to become National Board Certified Teachers as well. This institute is not only important for the teachers, but the communities that will be impacted from these teachers as well. President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. expressed, “It is so important…if we want to meaningfully impact and make change in our community, we are going to need to do it with our teachers.” This program identifies the best and brightest teachers and gives them the skills to be successful in the classroom and gives them mentorship so that these teachers won’t feel as if they are alone. These teachers in the program will leave the institute with a huge network to depend on for when they are in need of help or even encouragement.
Across the nation, there is a need for not only good teachers, but black male teachers as well. According to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s website, “Less than 2% of Public School Teachers are African American males.” President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. feels as if the pay and the respect for the role as a teacher are contributing factors as to why there aren’t many black male teachers in the public education school system. He further stated, “the profession is not perceived in our community as a profession that attracts the best and brightest.” In addition to, the website noted that, “forty to fifty percent of teachers leave the profession in the first 5 years, while 20% after the first year alone.” Teaching is not an easy profession, and its really hard work. Teachers ultimately can become frustrated and burned out from all of what they have to go through.
In regards to the black communities and the public education school systems, President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor made it known that research proves that these children perform better when they have teachers in the classroom that look just like them. He noted, “The school system needs to be targeting and promoting teaching as a valuable profession to students of colors. We want better results in the K-12 system…one of the ways to impact that is to put teachers of color male and females in these classrooms.”
Although this program is a huge success each year, it isn’t always easy sailing. There are some obstacles and challenges that come with putting this program on. It is not only expensive and requires a lot of money, but the struggle also comes when trying to get donors, corporate donors, to understand why they should support the program when they won’t benefit anything from it. The people that these donors are supporting are graduates that are going to become teachers, and not employees for their companies. Because this is not an investment that will help their companies, they are hesitant to donate and support the program.
In conclusion, teachers are very hard workers, and don’t always receive the accolades they should. Even though it gets hard at times for teachers, Johnny Taylor, Jr.’s advice to new and veteran teachers is to “remember why you’re doing this job”. He further stated, “Even on your toughest day, you have to remember that our ultimate goal is to produce better American citizens, and you cant think of a more noble job.”