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September 12, 2023

ICYMI: Campaign for Our Shared Future Blog Explores Struggles Faced by Black Educators 

Washington, D.C. - Today, Sharif El-Mekki the Founder and CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development was featured on the Campaign for Our Shared Future (COSF) blog “The Unbiased Classroom.” In his piece, El-Mekki discusses his experience as a teacher in the classroom and what research teaches us when we tell Black teachers “We need you, but don’t be Black while you’re here.” 

Students across the country are back in school and El-Mekki argues that all students, including our Black and brown students, are best served when Black educators are able to bring their history and experiences into the classroom. Something that is currently challenged through politically motivated censorship efforts sweeping the country. 

Read an excerpt from: “Unveiling the Silent Struggles: Challenges Faced by Black Educators in Today's Classrooms”

We know that our students benefit from teachers with different backgrounds including Black educators precisely because of the lived experiences, their cultural fluency, and their personal qualities. The partisan politics of the moment seek to sever those characteristics, skills, and understandings. The result is a diluted or erased Blackness methodically disempowered from being the positive force for students that it can and should be.  

Reflecting on my own teaching career, I know the power of empowerment as a Black educator.  The reason I was able to be so effective as a teacher, why my colleagues could teach Black children and all children so excellently, was because the school as an organization allowed me to be my full Black self. I was able to enhance the curriculum with content that I knew, from lived experiences and research, would help my students learn and engage. My feedback and input on curriculum and teaching was not just permitted, but welcomed, fostered, and incorporated into how we educated students. Our school leaders, our system leaders, knew that in order for the school to perform at optimal levels in serving its primarily Black and brown student population, they had to listen to their teachers and heed their insights.  

But none of that is possible in an environment where Black teachers are effectively told, “ We need you, but don’t be Black while you’re here”. 

You can read the full post here.


The Campaign for Our Shared Future (COSF) is a non-partisan effort to support high-quality K-12 education and preserve access, inclusion, and meaningful content in our schools so that every student has an opportunity to succeed and thrive. COSF is a common ground effort committed to fighting the attack on education across the country.

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