MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - There's a new Memphis based non-profit committed to changing a stereotype and the faces of instructors in the classroom.
Man Up Teacher Fellowship is looking to recruit, train and place highly skilled men of color in classrooms. Only 2 percent of the nation's teachers are men of color. Dr. Patrick Washington, Founder and CEO realized the need after being in education for two decades.
"I was one of only two men on staff when I started as a 4th grade teacher at Evans Elementary," Dr. Washington said.
The program is seeking high school students, men looking to make a career change or those who have left the business sector, military or public service and are seeking to motivate, inspire and nurture the minds of future generations.
Man Up Teacher Fellowship offers five lanes to licensure, but the 5th lane, Reverse, is rather unconventional.
The goal is to reverse the school-to-prison pipeline by partnering with area State Department of Corrections to identify men serving misdemeanor offenses that will not stop them from getting a teaching license.
"In 2015, The Atlantic's Alia Wong highlighted a study from Child Trends that found that one in nine black children has had a parent in jail or prison, about twice as high as that for white children. For black adolescents ages 12 through 17, it's nearly one in seven. Predictably, this has implications for America's classrooms."
Dr. Washington has teamed up with Relay Graduate School of Education and Blue Mountain College to provide participants with the opportunity to earn a Master of Education degree at no cost.
The first class for future fellows begins in July. For more information or to apply, click here.