Key Coverage

Next up for Men of Color? A Place at the Front of the Classroom.

Principal Damon Smith remembers a time when his students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Massachusetts had a black principal, black assistant principal, black mayor, black governor, and black president – all at the same time. But he sees a need for black men to push open the door to the next frontier: the kindergarten classroom.

“We need more practitioners of color, particularly black male teachers, in our classes K-12.” he explains in his office on a recent afternoon. “President Obama is just a step. It shows you what is possible.” 

His school district has made teacher diversity a priority in recent years. The effort is part of a national push prompted in part by research conducted since 2015 showing the positive impact that relationships – between students, and teachers who look like them – can have. At a time of racial division in the United States, educators say it is increasingly important for all children to be exposed to role models of different races.