Top 10 HBCUs that Produce Teachers

Last Updated on May 27, 2023

Teacher Helping Student At Computer Terminal With Students In Background
Teachers play an important role in the lives of students. Frequently college graduates point to the efforts of teachers that refused to give up on students who struggled to recognize their own greatness. Occasionally students from underserved communities would become de facto members of families because a teacher did not want a student to fall victim to pervasively violent communities. Within the Black community, teachers are integral to the success of students that encounter a variety of obstacles including poverty, low expectations, racism and stringent school discipline policies.

Throughout Jim Crow Black teachers from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) shielded students from overt racism while encouraging them to work harder. Today, HBCUs continue the tradition of graduating skilled, nurturing and committed teachers. Despite the increasing focus on teacher certification requirements graduates of education programs are fighting to close the resource gap between Black and White students.

Ensuring HBCUs continue to produce graduates is critical to providing Black students with role models. For the first time in United States (US) history ethnic and racial minorities make up the majority of students in public schools. Unfortunately, the majority of the students also live in poverty. Essentially students who attend public schools are more likely to be poor and come from minority communities. For this reason, HBCUs have to continue to produce graduates to meet the growing need for teachers. Black students who attend public schools are disproportionately taught by teachers from different ethnic or racial backgrounds. According to the U.S. Department of Education more than 35% of students are Black or Hispanic but less than 15% of teachers are Black or Hispanic. Only 2% of the teachers in the U.S. are Black males.

Increasing the number of Black teachers is critical considering the demographic shift. Several programs including TEACH are designed to encourage minority students to choose teaching as a profession. The public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Education, Microsoft and State Farm aim to recruit one million teachers over the next ten years. The partnership was developed in response to the dire need to place more minority teachers in the classroom. While the TEACH initiative is designed to recruit minority students throughout the U.S. the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) seeks to increase the number of teachers at HBCUs

UNCF in collaboration with the Annenberg Foundation created the HBCU School Linkage Program, which provided member schools with funding to recruit and train students interested in pursuing a career in education. Students’ benefit from professional development opportunities and faculty support to prepare to teach in under-resourced communities. HBCUs should continue to develop partnerships with foundations and corporations to fund scholarships to increase the overall number of Black teachers. Several HBCUs have successfully recruited Black students to teach. While the majority of HBCUs were founded as teachers colleges, according to data from the National Center for Education Statics (NCES) the following institutions represent the top producers of teachers:

North Carolina A & T State University
Greensboro, NC
Elizabeth City State University
Elizabeth City, NC
Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville, NC
Alabama A & M University Huntsville, AL
Mississippi Valley State University
Bena, Mississippi
Virginia State University
Petersburg, VA
Albany State University Albany, GA
Alabama State University Montgomery, AL
Jackson State University Jackson, MS
Tennessee State University Nashville, TN

The top producer Tennessee State University offers an array of undergraduate and graduate programs with concentrations in biology, chemistry and elementary education. HBCUs including Virginia State University collect data to examine student performance on teacher certification tests and program enrollment averages. Fayetteville State University (FSU) has a Black Men Teaching (BMT) program, which recruits high school students to enroll in the teacher education program after graduation. Once students matriculate at FSU they receive support from faculty to limit student attrition. Collectively each institution is committed to increasing the number of Black teachers in communities throughout the United States. HBCUs are the key to ensuring Black students have access to teachers with similar lived experiences.

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