Black male teachers get an assist from Sixer Tobias Harris at N. Philly school

Mike DeNardo
December 16, 2019 - 12:20 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Teachers at Bethune Elementary thought it was a routine training session — until Sixer Tobias Harris walked in.

Harris was there to acknowledge the need for more Black male teachers.

"The numbers don't lie that show that a young Black male that has an African-American teacher is 40% less likely to drop out come high school," he said.

At Bethune, 43% of the teachers are Black men, the most in a district where the average is about 4%.  

"Here at Bethune, we have a lot of African-American males here that they get to look up to, who are something like father figures to them," said Darnell Johnson, the dean of students.

Sixers Tobias Harris acknowledged need for more Black male teachers when he visited Bethune Elementary in Philadelphia.
Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

Harris has given $300,000 to the Center for Black Educator Development, headed by former Philly principal Sharif El-Mekki.

"The key thing that Tobias Harris communicates was that the community looks at him as a hero. They should also be looking at educators as heroes as well," El-Mekki said.

Harris says he knows teachers spend a lot of their own money on supplies, so he gave them each $100 gift cards, as well as Sixers tickets.