Free Education News – Come Back Mr. Chips: Why Male Teacher Rates Are At A 40-Year Low

When numerous fellow teachers asked Josh Holt to mentor their students last year at Heber Hunt Elementary in Sedalia, MO Holt initially felt a burst of pride.

It was his first year at the school teaching health and PE, and he hoped that he had impressed his senior colleagues.

But looking around the school, Holt realized there was a simpler reason teachers and even parents asked him to be a “buddy” in the school’s program for at-risk kids: he was born with a Y chromosome.

“The principal is the only other guy in the school,” says Holt, 24. “Some of these kids don’t have any men in their lives, and they really need a male role model.” That is increasingly difficult to find in American classrooms.

According to the National Education Association, the number of male schoolteachers is hovering at a 40-year low. Only one quarter of our 3 million teachers are men. In elementary schools, the problem is more acute—just 9 percent are men, down from 18 percent in 1981.

Although the feminization of the teaching profession has been underway since the 1890s, school administrators say it’s becoming a more salient issue as boys fall behind girls in graduation rates and demonstrate more difficulties with reading and writing.

There are several reasons many men find it difficult to enter, and stay in, the teaching profession: the starting salary for teachers is about $30,000, and less in early education. To view the complete article, click here.

(Newsweek 09.17.07)

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