So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Small study says gender stereotypes may still play role in who chooses to teach

Brock Cohen Humanitas

Grant Slater/KPCC

Brock Cohen, a Humanitas program teacher at Grant High School, teaches 11th grade American Literature and 9th grade Humanities. He has been teaching for 11 years.

For a long time, women have dominated k-12 teaching jobs. This article in the British newspaper The Telegraph sheds a bit of light on perceptions of some male teachers that may be behind those numbers.

In a small study, university scholars found that gender stereotypes play a role when men discount going into teaching. Ingrained British class issues may be at play, too, the article suggests.  In the U.K., men represent just 12 percent of the primary school workforce, according to Telegraph.

Certainly that’s not the case in California, right?

To find out, I took a look at the gender break down for California’s teaching force for the 2011-12 school year, the most recent available.  Statistics show 40% of California’s 284,000 teachers last year were male. That’s definitely higher than what I remember seeing in San Diego public schools in the 1970s and 80s.

What about poor and affluent districts? Is there a teacher gender difference based on affluence? Districts in well-off communities such as Arcadia, Irvine, and Beverly Hills have male teacher percentages that range from 21 percent to 27 percent. While urban, less well-off school districts such as those in Los Angeles, Compton, and Santa Ana had male teacher proportions between 27 percent to 35 percent.

This was by no means an exhaustive or scientific search, but raises a few obvious questions: Do male teachers gravitate toward more impoverished school districts? I’ll let education scholars have the final word on that.

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