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We Got Next

Urban Education and the Next Generation of Black Teachers


Lynnette Mawhinney

Developing a more culturally diverse teaching force is one of the most important tasks facing the education system in the United States. Yet, in the midst of this challenge, little is known about who these teachers might be or where they might come from. We Got Next: Urban Education and the Next Generation of Black Teachers illustrates the journeys that Black pre-service teachers travel in their attempts to become educators. By looking at their educational life histories – their schooling experiences, teaching philosophies, and personal motivation – this book discovers what compels them to become teachers and the struggles and successes they encounter along the way. With texture and care, We Got Next helps professionals, policymakers, and teacher educators to understand what draws young African Americans toward the teaching profession and how to help them get there.
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Afterword: An Invitation to Dialogue About the Teaching Profession

← 122 | 123 → ·AFTERWORD·


First and foremost, Lynnette Mawhinney’s work chronicling the life histories of African American prospective educators at Carver University carries forward an important tradition of research, initiated more than 15 years ago with Michele Foster’s seminal book Black Teachers on Teaching, by representing the lives of Black educators with their own words. Contextualized as it is within a Historically Black University, Mawhinney’s work sheds light on the experiences, struggles, and successes of prospective Black educators at an institution that prepares the largest number of Black educators in one U.S. state. In this way it brings to the forefront the challenges facing not only this particular group of Black preservice teachers but also the teaching profession as a whole. Just as the life history methodology situates lives within larger historical and social contexts and recognizes teachers’ identities as socially constructed, so these teachers’ experiences reflect larger trends in the teaching profession today.

The preservice teachers interviewed by Mawhinney have experiences highly reflective of what Susan Moore Johnson (2007) and colleagues have termed the “Next Generation of Teachers.” Many of these millennials were educated in re-segregated K–12 schools, with a majority-minority student body. They grew up under the testing and accountability requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and came of age during the recent economic downturn. Upon← 123 | 124 → expressing a desire to become a teacher, they found a variety of preparation pathways available to them, coupled with at-times opaque and convoluted certification requirements not always clearly understood by...

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