Bringing together Black male teachers and principals and building a network of learning, support and empowerment is essential, relevant and necessary not only for Black male students, but for all students. This is the essential mission of The Fellowship, a Philadelphia-based group that was founded to support current and aspiring black male educators through advocacy, engaging policy makers, expanding the teacher pipeline, and quarterly professional development opportunities called, “Black Male Educators Convenings” (BMEC).
In November 2015, members of The Fellowship had the opportunity to share our work with Secretary John King. Secretary King spoke candidly and critically about the achievement gap and the need to do more for those most in need through equity and access to excellence. As a former inner-city student, teacher, and leader, King was able to articulate the importance of increasing teacher diversity. He knew well of the “invisible tax” that many African American and Latino male teachers silently endure for the sake of their schools’ students. The pressure of being the lone black or brown male educator in a school, while simultaneously charged with being the main mentor, disciplinarian, and relationship guru for all students who share similar backgrounds, can be overwhelming.