U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan and Film Producer Spike Lee to Call on Morehouse Students to Pursue Teaching Careers

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U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan and Film Producer Spike Lee to Call on Morehouse Students to Pursue Teaching Careers

New Initiative to Recruit 80,000 African American Male Teachers by 2015

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, joined by film director, producer, writer and actor Spike Lee, will host a TEACH town hall meeting at Morehouse College on Monday, Jan. 31, to encourage students to choose teaching careers. The visit is part of a national teacher recruitment campaign launched by the Department earlier this year to celebrate and recruit more diverse, highly qualified teachers. Lee, an Atlanta native and graduate of Morehouse, will share his involvement in education and discuss why African American male teachers are needed in classrooms today.

Following the town hall meeting with Secretary Duncan, MSNBC contributor Jeff Johnson will announce his own five-year national initiative to recruit, train, place and develop 80,000 African American male teachers by 2015. Leaders from around the country will speak to a small group of young men about the need for them to become ambassadors for this movement. The “5 by 2015” task force,” led by Johnson, took seriously the call made by Secretary Duncan to recruit new teachers and decided to focus on African American men. The Task Force consists of individuals and organizations that have been dedicated to teacher development and African American male mentorship.

"With more than 1 million teachers expected to retire in the coming years, we have a historic opportunity to transform public education in America by calling on a new generation to join those already in the classroom,” Secretary Duncan said. “We are working with the broader education community to strengthen and elevate the entire teaching profession so that every teacher has the support and training they need to succeed. Education is the great equalizer in America and the civil rights issue of our generation. If you care about promoting opportunity and reducing inequality, the classroom is the place to start."

The TEACH campaign encourages more minorities, especially males, to pursue careers in the classroom. Nationwide, more than 35 percent of public school students are African American or Hispanic, but less than 15 percent of teachers are Black or Latino. Less than 2 percent of our nation’s teachers are African American males.

To learn more about the TEACH campaign and to view public service announcements (PSAs) by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, John Legend and others, visit www.teach.gov. The site provides information and resources for students and prospective teachers—including a new interactive “pathway to teaching” tool designed to help individuals chart their course to becoming a teacher. More than 8,000 teacher job listings also are posted on the site.

Who : U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Spike Lee, film director, producer, writer and actor
Robert M. Franklin, president, Morehouse College
MSNBC Contributor Jeff Johnson
What : TEACH town hall meeting to ask students to consider becoming teachers
When : Noon EST Monday, Jan. 31
Media avail follows
Where : Morehouse College
Ray Charles Performing Arts Center
830 Westview Dr. SW (Corner of Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard and West End Boulevard)
Atlanta, Ga.