Philadelphia; Teachers; Martin Luther King High School
Ninth graders at Philadelphia’s Martin Luther King High School are beginning their high school careers with a set of teachers who look like them. That’s something Principal Keisha Wilkins thinks will give the students a boost as they prepare for the future.
In fact, Martin Luther King, where last year the student body was 92% Black and 62% male, has become the first high school in the district to have a class that has Black male teachers for the four core subjects — math, English, science, and history — according to the district.
The four teachers’ journeys to careers in education speak to the challenges the profession faces in recruiting and retaining Black men, who make up only 2% of all teachers nationwide. In the Philadelphia school district, roughly 24% of teachers are Black, and of those, just 4% are men, while just over half the district’s students are Black.
Nora Macaluso, Chalkbeat Philadelphia