Nation’s pupils find few black men to call Mister

51472885Lenny Macklin made it to 10th grade before having a teacher who looked like him — an African-American male. Gregory Georges graduated from high school without ever being taught by a black man.

Only about 2 percent of teachers nationwide are African-American men. But experts say that needs to change if educators expect to reduce minority achievement gaps and dropout rates.

Macklin, now an 18-year-old college student, said he understands the circle that keeps many of his peers out of the classroom professionally.

“A lot of males, they don’t like being in school because they can’t relate to their teacher,” said Macklin, of Pittsburgh. “So why would you want to work there?”

American teachers are overwhelmingly white (87 percent) and female (77 percent), despite minority student populations of about 44 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Pictured: Professor and author Cornel West makes a point while addressing the crowd at the ‘State Of The Black Union’ symposium at the Ernest E. Morial Convention Center February 23, 2008 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) spoke at the event which was held at the site where thousands of New Orleans residents sat without aid for days following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. (Photo by Richard Alan Hannon/Getty Images)