In 2023 it’s not news that our nation, state and the Bay Area region are impacted by a severe teacher pipeline issue as baby boomers retire and young adults are discouraged from pursuing teaching as a career for a host of reasons. When you break down the issue in terms of race and gender however, the challenge becomes even more stark: less than 2% of America’s teaching force are Black males and less than 3% are Latino males. Fortunately, our friends at Urban Ed Academy are working to reverse this trend, with a mission to build out the city’s teaching force so that one day, every public school child in San Francisco will have a Black man as a teacher at least once before starting sixth grade – one that Gateway is thrilled to be a partner in.
Why the focus on Black male teachers in particular? For one, the dividends for Black boys are remarkable: research from Johns Hopkins University and the National Coalition for School Diversity indicates that the presence of just one Black teacher before the sixth grade can lead to a 39% decreased chance of dropping out of high school and a 29% increased chance of pursuing college. In addition, the same studies show that all students benefit strongly from having Black teachers, as they are more likely to seek out diverse social and professional communities and tend to exhibit less implicit racial bias.
One of the biggest hurdles to becoming a teacher in the Bay Area is a financial one, so Urban Ed Academy recruits a cohort of outstanding young Black men for its Man the Bay Fellowship, which covers all of a pre-service teacher’s professional and housing expenses in return for a commitment to serve in Bay Area public schools. Fellows also receive additional training, mentorship and support along with job placement assistance. Already the program’s impact is significant: Man the Bay fellows graduating from CalState TEACH will represent a 200% increase in Black male representation over the past decade.
At Gateway, we’re such tremendous fans of the great work being done at Urban Ed Academy that we’re joining forces to spread awareness of their mission and raise funds for this important cause. They’ll join us for a special fundraising event Feb. 25th: Black Excellence in Our Schools, a moderated discussion and dinner to address how Black educators are leading the charge for equitable schools and building a more just and inclusive future for all. This will be an interactive conversation between Golden State Warriors legend Shaun Livingston, two of Gateway’s Black educators and leaders, two of Urban Ed Academy’s teaching fellows, and all event attendees, with all proceeds shared between the two organizations. Further down the line, our two organizations can continue to collaborate around professional development opportunities, more public-facing events, and perhaps one day bringing Urban Ed Fellows to teach at Gateway.
Since our inception almost 25 years ago, we at Gateway have always believed that we all win – students, schools, and society – when schools work collaboratively with families and the broader community, and we’re excited to join Urban Ed Academy in our shared work to build a more just and equitable for everyone.
Black Excellence in our Schools is a ticketed fundraising event at an intimate venue limited to approximately 40 guests; tickets start at $500 and include dinner and cocktails. Click here for more information and registration.