As complex and stubborn as the achievement gap between black and white students remains, an equally difficult challenge is increasing the number of African American and minority teachers in our local public schools. 

We’ll stipulate as to the challenge on both fronts. And then we’ll pile on some criticism of districts 97 and 200 for their years and decades of blather and timidity in actually taking on these challenges. 

Yep. It’s hard to find black teachers, especially black men. More demand than supply. Better options than teaching, etc. Finally, though, with both districts profoundly focused on equity issues, we seem to have broken through the “let’s place some ads in online education journals” approach to hiring. Doesn’t hurt that Oak Park Call to Action is trying to force the issue with a petition drive.

Our two Oak Park school districts will travel to the Howard University job fair this spring. That’s smart. So are D97’s recent moves to make equity a focal point in their recruitment efforts. Let’s hope the job fair trip conveys the urgency and the opportunity that awaits a young black teacher in these schools. Let’s go recruiting, stealing black teachers. Bonuses for referrals. 

This is important and it is hard. But what we’ve done in the past doesn’t cut it.

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