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Only 8 Percent Of New York City Teachers Are Men Of Color. Here’s How The City Is Trying To Change That.

Ishmael Hall, an aspiring teacher who is part of a new program called NYC Men Teach. ( Photo by Patrick Wall ) “Start sharing. Don’t be shy,” the facilitator said at the start a training last week for Asian, black, and Hispanic men hoping to teach in the New York City school system.

He’d asked them to name a movie or song that spoke to them. “Rocky,” one man said. “The Star-Spangled Banner,” said another. “Remember the Titans,” Kwang Lee said, citing the movie about the black coach of a racially mixed high-school football team.

“In our classrooms, we have a lot of diverse students,” explained Lee, 47, who worked in advertising for two decades before deciding recently to become a teacher. “We have to find ways to work together.”