Just Call Them CourageousSix young men from the “Call Me Mister” program stopped by the offices of Black Issues late last month, and you can call us “impressed.” For those of you not familiar with “Call Me Mister,” the project’s mission is to recruit and train Black males as elementary teachers in South Carolina’s public schools.
The Mister scholars, all from South Carolina and attending the project’s three participating historically Black colleges — Benedict, Claflin and Morris, are closer to the age of our summer interns, but we were inspired and encouraged, nonetheless, by these young men’s decision to teach.
When we polled the scholars on how many of them had Black K-12 teachers growing up in South Carolina, only about two of them said they did. Therefore, we can only imagine the impact they will have on the lives of their students, particularly young Black male students who are desperately in need of male role models and mentors who have occupations in fields other than professional sports and the music and entertainment business.
Some of the Mister scholars said they did not enter college with the intention of becoming teachers, but many of them had considered various careers in which they could give back in some way. For others, teaching never crossed their minds until they heard about the Mister program.
And despite being discouraged at times from pursuing teaching careers because of low salaries compiled with other factors, the Mister scholars do not seem to be hesitant about their four-year commitment to teach in their home states. Black Issues looks forward to covering the future endeavors of the Mister scholars and the program.
We also met with two young women who are a bit further along in their teacher education training. The doctoral students, one researching Black faculty retention issues and the other looking at the overrepresentation of minorities in special education classes and the underrepresentation of minorities in the “gifted” programs, were excellent representatives of teacher education and young academicians researching very real and relevant issues. With the caliber of young scholars we’ve had the opportunity to meet over the past few weeks, we think the future looks bright not only for the scholars but for academia as well.
But not all visits occur in-house. Associate editor Robin Smiles left the confines of
Black Issues earlier this summer, traveling to Strasbourg, France, with a group of American faculty and administrators, many of whom were also traveling abroad for the first time. Robin chronicles her trip in “Cultural Immersion.”
Lastly, senior writer Ronald Roach took a much shorter trip — to Capitol Hill that is — to meet with Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, to discuss her involvement in promoting minority and women participation in science, mathematics and engineering programs as the ranking Democratic member of the House Committee on Science Subcommittee on Research. Hilary Hurd
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