Male Teachers on Decline, Survey Finds

Article excerpt

The percentage of men teaching in the nation's schools is dropping, a survey by the National Education Association has found.

The proportion of men teaching in public elementary and secondary schools fell to 26.9 percent in 1993-94 from 31.65 percent in 1983-84, according to the NEA study. The NEA is the nation's largest teachers' union.

The shortage of male teachers is particularly pronounced in the South, where most states have teaching forces dominated by women. In Georgia and South Carolina, for example, only 16.6 percent of public school teachers last year were men.

Massachusetts had the highest proportion of men in its public school classrooms, 37.9 percent. Missouri is well below the national average, with men making up only 23 percent of its teachers. In Illinois, the percentage is 28.7.

NEA president Keith Geiger, a former math teacher in Michigan, said teaching "needs to be a more attractive field" to recruit and retain more men.

"We're sending students the wrong message about teaching, when they see men leave the profession and when the number of minority teachers is also declining," he said.

"In particular, we need to be encouraging more men to choose teaching in the elementary schools and more women to become science and math teachers so that all our children have good role models."

The NEA survey found that average salaries paid to the more than 2.8 million public school teachers increased only 2 percent last year, the smallest percentage increase in the past 25 years. …