There is a dramatic shortage of Black male teachers in U.S. classrooms and Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he is ready to do something about it.

There are more than 5 million teachers in public schools across the country. But, Duncan told CNN last month that of the 200,000 new teachers hired each year nationally, less than 2 percent, or 4,500, are Black males.

To help increase those numbers, Duncan said he plans on embarking on a tour this fall of historically Black colleges and universities to drive home the need for a larger presence in schools of African-American male instructors.

“As a country we have a huge challenge to make sure many more of our students and more of our young Black boys are successful,” Duncan told CNN. “Our graduation rates have to go up dramatically and our dropout rates have to go down. to get there, I’m convinced we have to have more men of color teaching, being role models and mentors.”

In Washington, D.C., where the majority of residents are African-American, the school system reported in 2008 that 18 percent of its 3,800 teachers are men and of that number, about 9 percent are Black males. In Virginia, 2.6 percent of its more than 100,000 teachers are Black men.