Berkeley Scholar Aims to Increase Retention Rates of Black Male Public School Teachers

Travis J. Bristol is an assistant professor of education at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to his duties at the university, Dr. Bristol has created a series of “affinity groups” for male teachers of color at public schools to address issues they share, including the lack of resources, typical feelings of isolation, and the physical and psychological effects of being men of color at these schools.

Less than 2 percent of public school teachers in the United States are Black men. And these Black male teachers leave public school education at higher rates than other groups due to poor working conditions and a lack of resources from school administrators. Dr. Bristol’s research has shown that “Black male teachers were not being given the tools to succeed. Also, these teachers felt like they were being treated as behavior managers, as opposed to instructors.”

Dr. Bristol hopes that through the affinity groups, Black male teachers and administrators will develop the camaraderie and resources to improve those working conditions, thus decreasing turnover. “There is clear evidence to suggest that, when teachers are adequately prepared and have ongoing opportunities to improve their practice, their students perform better,” he said.

Before joining Berkeley’s faculty, Dr. Bristol was a Peter Paul Assistant Professor at Boston University. He is a 2003 graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he majored in English. Dr. Bristol holds a master’s degree in education from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in educational policy from Columbia University.

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