Three Black Men Hope to Open Doors for Students and Teachers of Color as Less Than 1% of Teachers in Indiana Are Black

Dr. Jeremy Coleman, Dr. Brian Dinkins and Dr. Jason Smith, all educators in Indianapolis, took their brotherhood that started out at Arlington High School and turned into a career mission to open the door for students and teachers of color.

And they did it while earning doctorate degrees in educational leadership from Ball State University.

“You can’t be what you can’t see, right?” Coleman, a Warren Township administrator, said. “There’s a cultural capital that you have and we fill it every single day. There are conversations I can have with students, teachers and parents because of what I bring, because of my background, because of my culture.”

According to the Indiana Department of Education, 3,173 of the 75,174 teachers across the state are Black. Out of those who are Black, only 888 are males.

“Black boys are the most expelled, suspended and incarcerated by demographic percentage wise, [compared to] any other subgroup in our nation,” Dinkins, an Indianapolis Public Schools administrator, said. “And so, if you think about a schooling experience for a Black male, why would they want to be a teacher, right? When 70% plus of the teacher population is white.”

The three educators say their teachers at Arlington High School and throughout college inspired them to seek a career in education, which had a invaluable impact on them.

“I had Roosevelt Griffin, my senior year [in economics], [the] only black male teacher. And he saved me in college,” Smith, also a Warren Township administrator, said. “I had to study in his class and he had expectations for me.”

That type of interaction, inspiration and motivation is something Smith says he tries to give to each of his students on a daily basis.

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SOURCE: WISH-TV, Jasmine Minor