2020 Diversity & Equity in Education Campaign
Bill Moyers, speech at the fiftieth anniversary of the Council of Great City Schools, “America 101”
“For the life of me I cannot fathom why we expect so much from teachers and provide them so little in return. In 1940, the average pay of a male teacher was actually 3.6 percent more than what other college-educated men earned. Today it is 60 percent lower. Women teachers now earn 16 percent less than other college-educated women. This bewilders me…. There was no Plato without Socrates, and no John Coltrane without Miles Davis.”
Recruiting Tip #6:
Interview for Inclusion, not Tokenism
While schools and districts are certainly limited in their ability to influence teacher salaries, it’s important to consider how to make all teachers, including men, feel valued and empowered, and this can start right in the interview process. Be aware of the questions you ask of men, and offer opportunities for men to represent their full range of skills and identify areas where they want to grow and take ownership in the classroom, then work to support them and not treat them as a “token” hire.
- Male teachers can have a positive effect on student behavior and achievement, but male teachers are not well represented in today’s schools, unlike in the previous century.
- Increasing pay will benefit all teachers but may have a particular correlation to attracting and retaining male teachers to the field.
- Creating a school culture that normalizes both academic skills and care-giving qualities amongst both male and female teachers can help male teachers from feeling isolated or out of place.
Diversifying Schools and Districts by Gender: Hiring Tips for Male Teacher Candidates
Thinking about diversity in schools and districts goes beyond race and ethnicity alone. In our final posts of our summer recruitment tip series, we’ll be focusing on teachers who are underrepresented in different ways, including gender, and this week we’ll be focusing on male teachers.
While the teaching profession historically included both male and female teachers, by the late 1800s, female teachers had started to dominate the field. Thus trend has persisted, with male teachers in 2017-2018 making up less than a quarter of all public school teachers, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.
The lack of male teachers is especially acute for teachers of color. As recent reports make clear, while hiring of non-white male teachers has actually been on the rise, retention continues to suffer, leaving a staggering low rate of black male teachers—just 2% of all teachers in the U.S. Why the high turnover rate? High on the list is a feeling that teachers who may be minorities in both gender and race feel unheard by the school administration, and like they have no autonomy. This feeling of powerlessness, coupled with low teacher salary, is a recipe for too many qualified male teachers leaving the field far too early.
On the issue of salary, recent data seems to back this up; according to the Pew Research Center, 26% of male teachers hold an additional job on top of their teaching responsibilities. While schools and districts don’t always have the ability to advocate for higher pay, schools and districts should be aware of this factor when hiring teachers, and also pay attention to how this dynamic affects gender representation in higher paid leadership positions.
In addition to low pay, male teachers can be tokenized in their schools, and not given the respect and appreciation they deserve, which can lead them to leave the field altogether, or leave the classroom to secure positions perceived as more high status, and certainly higher paying. As reported in The Atlantic last year, “close to half of all principals today, including two-thirds of those serving high schools, are men, as are more than three-quarters of school-district superintendents. Additionally, nine in 10 elementary-school educators are women…compared with six in 10 of their high-school counterparts.”
Recruiting and retaining male teachers then, is about making these candidates feel valued and part of the team, instead of, as one male teacher put it recently, “like a unicorn.”
JOIN THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
Stay tuned for our final posts as the summer of 2020 winds down, and know that DIVERSITY in Ed will continue to offer tips and articles throughout the year to help schools and districts recruit and retain diverse applicants, so be sure to stay connected for updates on this coming up soon!