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Gender gap growing in teaching profession (cites Thomas Dee research)

January 17, 2014
Tri-County Times
It is difficult to gauge why men make up only one third of teachers today, but Thomas Dee's research shows it matters.
By 
Amy Mayhew

A National Education Association (NEA) report indicates that there are 785,151 male teachers in public elementary and secondary schools across the nation compared to 2.4 million women.

While middle school and high school may have brought a few more male teachers into the mix, the truth is, the teaching profession was and really still is, dominated by women.

Most states report that less than 30 percent of all teachers are male, with the average coming in around 25 percent. The survey revealed that Arkansas had the least amount of male teachers at 17 percent while Kansas led the pack with more than 30 percent.

To go a step further, male educators make up 2.3 percent of the overall pre-K and kindergarten teachers, while male elementary and middle school teachers constitute 18.3 percent of the teaching population. It evens out a little more at the high school level with men representing about 42 percent of the teachers overall.

As other occupations began to open to educated women in the 1980s, women entered other professions, and teaching became slightly less-feminized.

But why are male teachers still few-and-far-between in the U.S.? Expert analysis insists that sexism ... stereotypes, fear of accusation of abuse... and that for men, working with young children is perceived to come with low wages and low status.

A 2006 study by Thomas Dee, now a professor at Stanford, suggests that boys do better in classes that are taught by men, while girls are more likely to thrive in classes taught by women. The study found that girls were more likely to report that they didn’t think a class would be useful to their future if taught by a man, and boys were more likely to say they didn’t look forward to a particular subject if it was taught by a woman.

Many scholars suggest that other variables like a teacher’s experience and the number of students in his or her class are much more important to a student’s success.

Read the full article here.

Read and article that studied the effects of teacher incentives here.

Read more about Thomas Dee here.