Valerie Hill-Jackson, clinical professor of critical teacher education in the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development, has conducted extensive research on Black teachers in the nation’s public school systems. She reports that in the decade after the Brown v. Board of Education, 45,000 Black teachers lost their jobs. Today, African Americans make up just 7 percent of the 3.2 million teachers in the United States. Black men are just 2 percent of all teachers.
Through her research, Dr. Hill-Jackson has come up with several recommendations to increase the number of Black teachers. First, she urges schools of education at colleges and universities throughout the United States to increase their efforts to recruit and support students of color who have expressed interest in a teaching career. This includes providing scholarships for deserving Black students. She also says public school districts must increase their efforts to make Black teachers feel welcome and offer them support in order to increase retention among their ranks.
“Whether we’re putting together a group in our community or we’re trying to staff a school, we need to make sure that these institutions reflect who we are as Americans,” Dr. Hill-Jackson said. “All of us say that we believe in democracy, in theory, but this is our opportunity to implement diversity ideas into practice.”
Dr. Hill-Jackson joined the faculty at Texas A&M University in 2004. She is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she majored in biology and environmental studies. Dr. Hill-Jackson earned a master’s degree from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, and an educational doctorate from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.