Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2013 6:25 am

By Rebecca S. Rivas

Chris Leatherwood is a seventh-grade math teacher at Gateway Middle School, and he is part of the two percent of teachers nationwide who are African-American males.

He understands that there is a growing need for more black male teachers, he said. But that’s not why he chose to join Teach For America, a national organization that trains professionals to become teachers in low-income communities.

“I’m a product of the public schools, and I know how underprepared I was to enter college,” said Leatherwood, a Washington University graduate in English literature who joined the organization this year. “I wanted to help kids to be better prepared than I was.”

Just eight percent of children who grow up in low-income communities graduate college by age 24, according to the Postsecondary Education Opportunity research group. When Leatherwood committed to teaching in public schools for two years with Teach For America, he joined about 6,000 TFA teachers nationwide who want to ensure that all children receive an excellent education.


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