“Piece by Piece” Man Up is Making a Difference

Man Up & The Kelly Clarkson Show

Man Up Teacher Fellowship was featured on the Kelly Clarkson Show on Monday, February 1st, 2021. The significance of this accomplishment and this date cannot be understated. First and foremost, Black History Month was begun to recognize, celebrate and reflect on Black Americans and their contributions to America. Secondly, our efforts as a country to make the American Dream a reality for all people continue to be met with ideals and beliefs of some in positions of power who are not yet ready to make Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness a reality for non-white Americans —- yet we press on!

The United States of America is undoubtedly the best country in the world and Man Up Teacher Fellowship is a contributing force behind changing one part of a larger ecosystem; the public school system. With only 2% of the nation’s teachers being black males, we recognize this statistic as a detriment and an opportunity that can be overcome with persistence and resistance. Persistence in our mission to recruit men of color to public education; resistance to the idea of accepting the status quo.

Kelly Clarkson, a nationally recognized singer, songwriter, and daytime time talk show host heard about our work and wanted to share our story. Clarkson, the daughter of a retired school teacher, stated that she only had one Black teacher in her lifetime and not one black male. This she stated, “Is a shame.” I concur. It’s a shame that in our diverse society, where over half of our public school children are children of color, they may never encounter a black male as a teacher. Watch the segment here!

The Kelly Clarkson Show has an average viewership of close to 2 million and since airing, our story has significantly increased the volume of people reaching out to us via social media and searching for us on the internet. Most importantly, this exposure has positioned us to continue to change the narrative and perception of what teachers should look like and demonstrate that there is a place for men of color as teachers in public education.

Without question our country is better because we are different. We vary in numerous ways, but we are also stronger because we see these differences not as reasons to shun, denounce, belittle, mistreat or disenfranchise but to elevate, lift and empower each other because WE ARE AMERICANS. Man Up is that voice of reason, a movement to transform the landscape of public education in this country.

We appreciate Kelly Clarkson for recognizing our work and for supporting this movement with a $20,000.00 financial contribution! You can also support us by staying connected to us on social media, signing up for our monthly newsletter and supporting us with a financial contribution. Thank you for your consideration and support!


Dr. Patrick Washington, Founder & CEO, Man Up Teacher Fellowship

The Desperate Need for Black Male Teachers

The COVID-19 pandemic suddenly and dramatically reshaped education across the globe in March of 2020. By some estimates, 1.6 billion children globally left the classroom, with many students yet to return. The impacts of this unprecedented disruption range from learning loss, a widening of the digital divide, and projected teacher shortages. Each of these issues acutely affect Black and Brown students and brings into sharp focus the urgent need to address another issue—the dearth of black male teachers.

A quick Google search of the term “Black male teachers” reveals several key questions about the absence of black male teachers in America’s school. The first two pages of search results alone yields articles with the following titles:

• “Why Black Male Teachers Matter”,
“Do Districts Actually Want Black Male Teachers?”,
“Why Are There So Few Black Male Teachers?”, and
“Where Are All the Black Male Teachers?”.

Although a Google search is not a substitute for a rigorous academic study on the topic, it demonstrates widespread acknowledgement that there is a problem and underscores the need to address it.

A recent report from The New Teacher Project (TNTP) identifies one of primary contributors to the shortage of black male teachers in the classroom—a lack of diversity in teacher prep programs. The report stunningly claims that “to get to a point where teacher demographics mirror current student demographics, we’d need an additional one million teachers of color.” Furthermore, the report noted that 48 out of 50 states “have higher percentages of white teacher prep program enrollees than white public-school students.” Despite the shortcomings of traditional teacher prep programs, the report notes that while traditional programs are, on average, 69.6% white, alternative programs are only 46.8% white. I’d like to tell you about an alternative program that is entirely composed of minority men—The Man Up Teacher Fellowship.

Founded in 2016, The Man Up Teacher Fellowship seeks to increase the number of highly effective teachers of color in public schools. The fellowship achieves this goal by recruiting men of color to teach, providing tuition assistance to graduate level programs in education, and one-on-one mentoring for each potential recruit. Additionally, the teachers receive a $5,000 stipend for first three years (out of a five-year commitment) of participation in the program. Currently, the Man Up Teacher Fellowship partners with Relay GSE, Educational Testing Services (ETS), Mississippi State University, and the University of Memphis for training and on-going education for the teachers.


Tim Abram, Man Up Teacher Fellowship Board Member