Why men are choosing not to be K-12 Teachers

I saw this article posted on USATODAY this morning. Its an opinion piece but it attempts to address a very important issue we are seeing in K-12 education right now: Boys are not doing well in school and have do not have role models in school because there are not men in schools.

Article

As this article notes:

“…boys in particular benefit from the presence of male role models in the classroom. As Stanford University professor Thomas Dee has documented, in a study of more than 20,000 middle-school students, boys perform better when they have a male teacher, and girls perform better when they have a female teacher. If we want to do something about boys’ often sluggish classroom performance, more male teachers could be a useful step.” Source

While this article addresses some other issues as well and not all that I agree with, we do agree that more men are needed in K-12 education. Women are outperforming men in school by leaps and bounds. While this is great and we need to continue to do more to keep our girls performing well, we need to also start doing things to help our boys do well too. One of those is getting more men into schools. I have heard all kinds of stats but in elementary schools it seems like there is 1 male teacher for every 10 female (sometimes even more like 1 to 15). I have seen this first hand. I teach one undergraduate technology for education class and every semester there are 20 girls and maybe 1-3 guys. Some classes have no guys. Guys are not going into teaching. Why?

Well here is the main reason I would not go into K-12 education: low pay (there are others but if this happened I believe the others would be solved or at least we would going in the right direction). If you pay teachers 15k-30k to start, who is going to want to do it? Yes, I see my students getting offers for less than 20k a year to start. Heck my first job out of college was 50k with full benefits+401k in the corporate world. I was making 65k after 1 year out in the corporate world and over the course of a few more years my salary was significantly higher than that. The average teacher makes 46k a year at retirement in the US (source). How are you going to get the best by paying 46k a year? I dont even think I could pay rent on that better yet support a family, and that is the national average in retirement. Sure there are some districts around cities that pay teachers upwards of 100k, but that is not normal and not close to the national average. I often hear, well teachers get summer off. Sure they get 8 weeks of unpaid vacation. Guess what? I got 3-5 weeks of paid vacation at my various jobs. Yep, when I left the corporate world and went into higher education I had 5 weeks of paid vacation a year so that extra 3 weeks that teachers had was nothing special considering it was unpaid. You want men, pay for them. Here is a video that addresses this issue much better than I can:

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