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This Memphis Program Is Offering $5k Towards the Call of Action for Black Men to Become Teachers


According to many studies in education professionals, Black men only account for two percent of school teachers, which is why Dr. Patrick Waghinton, founding principal at Promise Academy Spring Hill decided to do something about it.



In 2018, the 20-year educator created the Man Up Teacher Fellowship, a mentorship program for up and coming teachers that also provides a $5,000 stipend for up to three years and an opportunity to earn a Master’s of Education at no cost.


“Going into next year over 50 guys will have joined Man Up and they are in schools throughout this city and around this county,” said Washington.


The program accepts high school students, undergraduates, graduates and Black men who are considering a second career in teaching. It aims to:

  • To increase the number of highly effective male teachers of color in partnering schools by 5 percent over the next five years.

  • To increase the number of males of color majoring in education at partnering institutions by 5 percent over the next five years.

  • To decrease the number of disciplinary referrals of male students of color by 5 percent over the next five years.

  • To improve the academic achievement of male students of color in partnering school districts by 5 percent each academic school year.

  • To increase the graduation rate of men of color in partnering schools by 5 percent over the next five years.

  • To decrease the dropout rate for men of color in partnering school districts by 5 percent over the next five years.

A study co-authored by a Johns Hopkins University economist found that having one Black teacher in elementary school significantly increased a low-income Black student’s likelihood of graduating from high school and considering college; for a very low-income Black boy, the risk of dropping out was reduced by 39 percent.



“When students of color especially see a man they are kind of like, ‘whoa, who is this,‘” said Promise Academy teacher Hashin Jones.


These findings are backed up by reports from the Institute of Labor Economics.


Fourth-grade teacher CJ Harris was one of the first participants in the program and serves as a mentor.


"Just a collection of like-minded men moving in the same direction and all of us with the same goal to be the most effective possible," Harris said.


Man Up Teacher Fellowship also partnered with Blue Moutain College and Relay Graduate school of Education to recruit, identify and train highly effective male teachers of color.


The goal is to secure a minimum of ten candidates each year for a cohort.

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