Equity in education.
If this phrase doesn’t mean much to you, it should. Because to children studying at schools in certain areas of the US, it means everything.
There is a distinct lack of cultural diversity among teachers in American schools. Our populations aren’t being reflected in the school systems designed to teach them.
And it’s a big problem.
It’s particularly significant in San Francisco. Data from the San Francisco Unified School District 2016-17 reveals the shocking plight of black students in the area:
- 84% are not proficient in math
- 82% are not proficient in English
- 80% will be ineligible to apply to the state-run UC and CSU systems
Much of the problem lies in representation. As the New York Times (Sept 2018) puts it: “Research shows that students, especially boys, benefit when teachers share their race or gender. Yet most teachers are white women.”
Here’s why it’s significant. A 2016 study by the American Educational Research Association concluded that, test scores and other factors being equal, black students were three times more likely to be assigned to gifted programs when taught by a black teacher than a non-black teacher.
How Urban Ed Academy is Working Towards a Solution
So what’s the solution?
Enter Urban Ed Academy.
Urban Ed Academy is a new school venture committed to working toward equitable outcomes by driving culturally reflective experiences for students. Its vision is for every student in San Francisco to have one male teacher of color before sixth grade.
To support their mission, Urban Ed Academy was offered workspace through the All Good Work Foundation at NextSpace Berkeley.
So, what does it take to carry out their mission? How are they doing it? And most importantly, is it working?
All Good Work spoke with the team at Urban Ed Academy — Randy Seriguchi, Jr., Daniel Rumley, and Denzel Herrera-Davis — to find out more.
All Good Work: Can you tell us more about the challenges we are up against?
Urban Ed Academy: Today, less than 2% of America’s teachers are black males and less than 3% are Latino males. These numbers are inconsistent with student populations across the country and we’re missing out on what a balanced educational experience can look like for some students.
The most foundational leaders in our communities are teachers. Urban Ed Academy believes representation matters in all roles of foundational leadership.
How are you working to achieve your social impact mission?
By launching the Man the Bay program, Urban Ed Academy and our partners are working to increase representation by adding 100 black male teachers to the teacher pipeline in San Francisco, effectively doubling the current number in the next few years.
Specifically, we seek to bring cohorts of black male teacher fellows into Bayview Hunter’s Point, San Francisco, CA.
This initiative provides young men with the necessary teacher training, secures teacher job placements for program fellows within San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) schools, and provides workforce housing to them during their four-year service commitment.
How do you measure success?
Our focus is educational, yet we look at short-term proxies for positive learning experiences; increases in academic outcomes and attendance, and decreases in behavioral referrals and suspensions.
We track the number of male teachers of color recruited, hired, and placed in target schools listed by SFUSD. We plan to measure housing activities by the number of black male teachers housed by participating black property owners under this initiative.
Can you share with us your progress so far?
Through the Man the Bay program, we currently have 8 black male teacher candidates in SF schools as fellows, are recruiting our third cohort for June, and we are on track to bring in 50 by 2022.
We have active placements in 4 elementary schools in SF. With additional black male staff dedicated to their primary school site, Malcolm X Academy, they helped increase enrollment in the school for the first time in over a decade — from 89 to 125 in one year of a partnership with the program.
Tell us about your relationship with All Good Work and how it’s helping you to achieve your mission.
Urban Ed Academy applied to the All Good Work Foundation in March 2019. We already had space in San Francisco, but needed a satellite workspace in the East Bay as well.
One of our donors, All Stars Helping Kids, which was already aware of All Good Work, referred us to the organization. The application was approved and we were placed at NextSpace Berkeley in April 2019.
Our presence in Berkeley has broadened our local networks substantially, opening doors for us to local funders and volunteer groups that have supported our Man the Bay program.
The space has enhanced employee morale by providing the opportunity to meet in a professional environment. Additionally, we use the space regularly to develop grant applications, prepare progress reports and engage in strategic planning.
Thanks to the money we have saved on our workspace, we have been able to reallocate resources to the program and hire one new staff person on the team.
Finally, where can we find out more about your work?
Visit our website. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news.
Meet the men who have been committed to teaching elementary school. Check out some of the interviews we conducted with members of our first two teacher cohorts in our Man The Bay program.