RE: Educational brainstorming

Robert Tighe (tighe@APSICC.APS.EDU)
5/19/98 10:57 AM EST

Ted Weverka wrote last Thursday:

>Bob writes that men don't go into teaching because of pay, and
women don't go into technology because of socialization.

I hope I didn't say or imply this, because I do not believe it.
I do agree with what he said next:

>I believe that socialization and discrimination are the
>dominate reason for both the lack of men in teaching and the
lack of women in technology.

And this is also the answer to John Meyer's question about what keeps
men out of primary (and elementary) school education. If I remember
my history correctly, prior to the expansion of public education
in the late 1800's almost all teachers were male. A shortage of
teachers and a shortage of men (caused by the Civil War) forced
the hiring of female teachers, but then this trend intensified when
school boards found that they could hire women for much less pay
than men, largely because women had significantly fewer options in
the overall career market. Pay was a major factor then, but I believe
that socially conditioned preferences and status issues have since
become more important, at least at the elementary level.

The long term solution is reduction of stereotypes and discrimination.
This will require changes in the way teachers are trained and selected.
Eventually, I believe, this will greatly reduce the career imbalances
which Linda Purrington and Donna Woodka described, and which were
illustrated by Ted's university data.

Some possible short term solutions (to modify the lack of alternate
role models in education and perhaps also modify the workplace in
some of the ways Donna mentioned) could include increases in pay for
all teachers, with added pay incentives for elementary-level teachers
and for women who teach math and science in the upper (8-12?) grades.
Higher pay will increase the availability of quality applicants.
Many school districts already have unofficial affirmative action
programs intended to hire more male elementary teachers, when and
if they can find willing and qualified men. Affirmative action is
also needed to increase the hiring of women in teaching positions
in high school and university math and science programs, if such a
program is not already in place AND effective.

Anyone care to add to or improve this list of short-term strategies?

-- Bob Tighe

Robert Tighe Resource Teacher
Instructional Technology
Albuquerque Public Schools Science is always wrong. It never
220 Monroe SW solves a problem without creating
Albuquerque, NM 87108-2811 ten more.
USA - George Bernard Shaw

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