From Peter Clark to Rodger Horton, black educators are still rare. And that needs to change.

An excerpt from From Peter Clark to Rodger Horton, black educators are still rare. And that needs to change. by Evan Millward of WCPO Cincinnati

CINCINNATI — "None of my teachers until my third grade looked like me, walked like me, or talked like me," said Rodger Horton, a kindergarten teacher at Chase Elementary.


He grew up with dreams of becoming a police officer, but that changed in college at Central State University in Xenia. He credited mentors in his education for the turning point.


That, and opportunity.


"[Recruiters] all wanted to speak with me," he said. "Because there were so few African Americans in the early 2000s, particularly males, that were looking to go into education, particularly elementary education, everyone wanted to sit down with me."


It's nothing new.


Before Peter H. Clark became the first teacher in the new Cincinnati Independent Colored School District in the mid-1800s, black children didn't have many educators who looked like them.


And they still don't.


In Ohio, non-white teachers made up 5.64 percent of the workforce in the 2018-19 school year. Students of color, meanwhile, represented 31 percent of pupils.

Kentucky's demographics were similar. Just 4.8 percent of the Commonwealth's teachers were non-white, while 24.2 percent of students were something other than white.


New research has shown that changing that gap brought dropout rates and disciplinary problems down while raising test scores and positive views of education.


Which brings us back to Horton.

He has taught at Chase in Northside for 16 years -- 10 of those years he's taught kindergarten.


On a recent Tuesday, Horton wrangled more than one dozen students with the help of a paraprofessional aide. He asked them what 'data' is and how it's used. Students counted rockets, cars and buses. One by one, they graphed those numbers on a smartboard at the front of the room.


The other adults in the room, like this reporter, wondered when kindergarten got so advanced.


It was a big change for Horton, too.


"I had to learn to wipe noses and I had to learn to tie shoes," he said. "But ultimately, I had to learn how to hug and had to learn how to love."


Doing M.O.R.E.

One of the major drivers mentioned in the University of Phoenix report is student engagement as a way to reach future educators of color.


Back at Chase Elementary, the dismissal bell rang.


"Hands up top," Horton instructed. "Everybody stop."


But the day was not over for Horton and several older students. Horton is the school leader for Cincinnati Public Schools' M.O.R.E. program. It stands for Men, Organized, Respectful, Educated.


"It lets them know there's someone who cares for them," Horton said. "It's almost from the perspective that I'm a pseudo-father."


M.O.R.E. was not designed with the goal of creating future educators. It's built - and gained national recognition - for better preparing young men of color for college and life outside classroom walls.


"We never give up on each other," said Alonzo Berry, a third year M.O.R.E. student. "We help each other and we help others."


There's no denying, though, the power of representation in a classroom. Horton remembered how that third grade year changed him and his perspective on school, all because he had a teacher who looked like him and took the time to care.


"It allowed me to realize the potential that I had to learn at the same level and same pace as my peers," he said. "It opened up my world so much more ... instead of being ostracized, I was just unique and I excelled in the classroom."

Full Article:


From Peter Clark to Rodger Horton, black educators are still rare. And that needs to change.


 BY EVAN MILLWARD


Millward, Evan. “From Peter Clark to Rodger Horton, Black Educators Are Still Rare. And That Needs to Change.” WCPO, 12 Feb. 2020, www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/hamilton-county/cincinnati/from-peter-clark-to-rodger-horton-black-educators-are-still-rare-and-that-needs-to-change.

Director of Strategic Communications

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[nEkIESHa]

I chose this article because it is a local story that shows the positive impact of black educators on our youth. Having someone that you can relate to on a personal level to help push you to succeed can make all the difference in a young child's life. 

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