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#ProudMIEducator Video Underscores Critical Impact of Black Male Educators

January 17, 2020

LANSING – Research shows that students who have educators who look like them are far more likely to graduate from high school and beyond. And while racial and ethnic minorities make up a growing percentage of Michigan’s student population, only two percent of the state’s educators are black males.

In its latest #proudMIeducator video, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) takes an in-depth look at the need for more black male educators and the critical perspective they bring to the state’s education fiber.

The video features Quan Neloms, Brian Ferguson-Bey, and Carl Brownlee – three black male educators from Detroit discussing their passion for teaching, dedication to their students, and necessity in the classroom.

“For Michigan to meet its goal of being a Top 10 education state, we need to have a diverse educator workforce that reflects our student population,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice. “We are proud to highlight some of the unique contributions of our black male educators in Michigan’s public education system. They are a crucial part of our state’s workforce, and we need to ensure we are doing our best to support them as they support our students’ learning.” 

In the 2018 study “The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers,” researchers Nicholas Papageorge at Johns Hopkins University and Seth Gershenson at American Universityexamined the effects of racially similar educators on student success.

Their findings reveal that African American students who’d had just one African American teacher by third grade were 13 percent more likely to enroll in college, and those who’d had two were 32 percent more likely. 

According to Ferguson-Bey, a World History teacher at Detroit’s Central High School and featured in this #proudMIeducator video, one of the reasons this representation matters is because students who have experiences influenced by the color of their skin can approach their teacher and know that teacher has likely had similar experiences.

Quan Neloms, Brian Ferguson-Bey, and Carl Brownlee are members of a Detroit-area black male educators movement called In Demand, which is engaged in connecting black men with opportunities to become educators, mentors, and volunteers in the city of Detroit. To view their video and podcast, please go to the group’s YouTube site.

The #proudMIeducator initiative is part of a greater effort by MDE to recognize and celebrate the state’s education workforce. Anyone can participate in the social media-driven campaign designed to shine a spotlight on those making a difference for students in schools and districts across the state. Simply tag posts using the #proudMIeducator hashtag. To stay connected and like/follow both MDE and the Office of Educator Excellence on social media:

Facebook: @MIEducator and @MichDeptEd
Twitter: @MIEducator and @MIEducation
Instagram: @MIEducator
YouTube: @MichDeptEd

For more information about the #proudMIeducator campaign, including previous videos in the series, visit or e-mail Josh Roesner at