In season two, we’ve been provoked to make schools more human for learners but on this episode, Randy Seriguchi Jr. challenges us to recalibrate our angle. As we work toward more humanizing spaces for our children, we have to prioritize changes for our teachers too.
As the Founder and CEO of Urban Ed Academy in San Francisco, California, Randy does just that. Urban Ed Academy is “building equity in education by increasing Black male teacher representation in San Francisco”. From recruitment to licensure, UEA provides mentorship, financial support, and community to make the dream of teaching a reality for Black men. One of the biggest hurdles, however, is retention.
In episode six, Randy immediately points out that another side-effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic is that this space and time has allotted us the opportunity to rediscover ourselves and prioritize passion over paychecks. Employees are leaving their back-breaking, minimum wage jobs faster than employers can draft job postings. And the field of education is far from immune.
“We have been forced to imagine anew, what the investment in our people really looks like, or ought to look like.”
Randy, Jonathan, and Doc challenge us to think about what we’re really doing here. Is our goal to drill ABCs and 1-2-3s? Or is it to equip the next generation with a passion for learning, critical thinking skills, and the confidence to boldly impact our communities? If you’ve been listening through seasons one and two, then you know the answer. You also know we’re not there yet.
UEA is making moves toward that dream. To date, only 2% of American teachers are Black men while 17% of our K-12 students identity as Black. As Randy points out, “we know that equality education is the best leverage point we have to change the trajectory of a person’s life. Well, the leaders in front of that matter.”
DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) is reduced to a buzzword without action. If we want diverse corporations, communities, and schools then we need to build programs and systems to get us there. And UEA is tipping the scales, one man at a time.
Tune in to Season 2 Episode 6 to hear more about diversifying the teaching pool with Urban Ed Academy.