A black fifth grade teacher at Monroe Elementary School in Minneapolis was applauded by his students and colleagues as he received a check for $ 50,000 to pay off his student loan.
Markus Flynn, managing director of the nonprofit Black Men Teach, personally presented Thetis White with the large check the size of a raffle to help the educator pay off his loans and ease some of his financial burdens, EdSurge reported.
“It’s a great thing that you did. I know he deserves it very much, ”said one of the Thetis students. The teacher was overwhelmed with emotion and burst into tears as he accepted the reward, as Blavity noted.
Flynn takes pride in what the nonprofit does while also serving as a part-time teacher in Minnesota. The state is recognized for its good schools but a poor track record of caring for black students.
“When I first started studying education, I saw some of the most compelling statistics I’ve ever seen – in any field,” Flynn said on the EdSurge podcast.
He already understood the importance of black students having black teachers, but seeing statistics opened his eyes even more. He cited studies that said that a black student who has at least one black teacher by the time they reach third grade is 13% more likely to enroll in college. Black students are 32% more likely to go to college if they have two black teachers at the same time.
He found that black male students are often treated harsher than their white counterparts.
“They represent 10 percent of the student population but 42 percent of discipline incidents,” he said.
Despite the educational differences people see with color, Flynn was motivated to teach in Minnesota because he knew the state can make all of the changes happen.
“A place like Minnesota is actually the first place that seeks change because the results are so different and it’s so obvious,” said Flynn. “And Minnesota is the hub right now when it comes to liking that focus on justice and justice in the face of the murders of George Floyd and Daunte Wright. So this is a place where the work really needs to be done. “