Date of Graduation

8-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Carleton R. Holt

Committee Member

Charlene M. Johnson-Carter

Second Committee Member

Wen-Juo Lo

Abstract

African American male teachers represent a disproportionately low number of educators in the American public school system. This lack of representation has implications for understanding, interacting with and educating the growing population of students of African descent in public schools. In addition, all students benefit from experiencing African American males in classrooms for cultural and educational reasons. For these reasons, recruiting and retaining African American males for careers in education is imperative.

This dissertation investigated the reasons African American males do not select careers in education given the history of this career and its prominence for people of African descent. Using Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a theoretical framework, this phenomenological study addressed barriers that African American men may face in pursuing a career in education. Six African American male educators (elementary, middle and high school levels) from three school districts in rural Arkansas were interviewed to ascertain their views on why African American males were not pursuing degrees and careers in education. A qualitative analysis of participant interviews explored economic, academic, social and cultural factors affecting black males in deciding to enter the teaching profession. Specifically, African American males described a lack of positive African American male role models, financial hardship as a deterrent to college enrollment, and expectation of inadequate professional salary. The study focused on five emergent themes that elucidate a more complete understanding of barriers faced by African American male educators: (1) Stereotypes of African American males; (2) Motivations to teach; (3) Barriers faced by African American men in becoming teachers; (4) Specific problems encountered in the classroom; and (5) Encouraging other African American men to teach.

Keywords: Critical Race Theory, African American male educators, recruitment, teacher shortage