Cobb County

Kennesaw State University encouraging young students of color to become teachers

KENNESAW, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News ‘Gets Real’ with a serious shortage of Black male school teachers.

The latest statistics show that demographic makes up just 2% of all teachers nationwide.

Channel 2’s Berndt Petersen was at Kennesaw State University in Cobb County Wednesday, which is working to do something about it.

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Eleventh grader Samson Mbongwo and his little brother Matthew Mbongwo say it’s part of what they want and need at school.

“It’s like a representation and role model thing,” Samson Mbongwo said.

Statistics show there aren’t many teachers who look like them.

“It’s staggering. It’s shocking,” Dr. Jabari Cain said.

The Kennesaw State University professor says Black men make up fewer than 2% of the nation’s teacher workforce.

KSU is doing something about it. On Wednesday, a dozen local middle and high school students took part in what’s called the Future MISTER’s Academy.

It’s an initiative to increase the number of Black men in the profession.

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“Students need to see themselves in their teachers,” Alexander Shannon said.

Shannon teaches at Tapp Middle School in Powder Springs. He says a lack of representation hurts all students, and that diversity matters.

“And I’m hoping they’ll say, You know what? I think I can give education a shot,’” Shannon said.

The Mbongwo brothers may go all in.

“Yeah. Who knows? It’s pretty cool,” eighth-grader Matthew Mbongwo said.

“Seeing someone similar to them in that role gives them a greater push to say, ‘Oh, I see. That’s something I myself can achieve,’” Samson Mbongwo said.

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