It’s (Not) Raining Men, Tales Out of Ed School, and Reviewing the New SAT

By Rich Shea — March 18, 2005 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

More than a few good men are needed in the teaching profession these days. The percentage of male educators in U.S. classrooms is the lowest it’s been in 40 years, down to just 21 percent. Why, exactly? MenTeach, a nonprofit that promotes the recruitment of guys, claims that low pay has something to do with it but that stereotyping—the idea that men shouldn’t do “women’s work” or work so closely with children—is an even bigger deterrent. That may be why only 9 percent of elementary school educators are men. Which is too bad, according to Liberty Jones, a 4th grade teacher in Oregon. “In my experience, moms tend to be the ones staying home or helping kids out with their homework,” she says. “Having a male teacher gives students a different perspective and shows that men care about education and learning, too.”

Those who care about the way educators are trained might be alarmed by a new study suggesting that ed schools are doing a lousy job. Supervising the four-year, 28-school survey is Arthur Levine, president of Teachers College at Columbia University, and he says that programs for future administrators, in particular, range from “inadequate to appalling.” They’re not much more than a “grab bag of survey courses” having little to do with the realities of running a school, the report argues. And Levine is calling for an overhaul of degrees—for example, substituting a more practical, MBA-like master of educational administration for the lofty EdD. “To ignore this warning,” he says, “is to allow leadership education programs in America to fade away.”

“Not Fade Away” should be the SAT’s theme song. Following years of complaints about the all-important college entrance exam, the College Board recently revamped it, and the first 330,000 SAT-takers offer mixed reviews. “It’s more fair with an essay,” says one 16-year-old. “The writing portion asks for your opinion, and it reflects the real you much better than vocabulary and other technical questions.” But some say it’s too long, clocking in at 45 extra minutes, for a total of almost four hours. There are also three sections (writing, critical reading, and math), not just two, meaning that a “perfect score” is now 2400. The biggest change, the addition of the 25-minute essay, is the most talked-about part of the new SAT, with some worrying it can’t be graded objectively, others that the allotted time isn’t enough to craft a thoughtful piece. One Florida student offers this message: “A note to the College Board: Give more time on the essay section.”

Note to toy companies: You can learn something from the students at Northwestern University, where the Children’s Culture class is creating homemade educational toys geared toward elementary schoolers. After immersing themselves in childhood development theories, the college students came up with products like “Neverending Storybook,” an empty volume that with the aid of prompts, markers, and whiteboard pages, encourages kids to write their own stories. And a Web site, SNEAK: The Secret Network for Espionage Activity by Kids, allows children to go on “missions” in their homes, print out ID cards, and share spy stories, all while learning computer skills. Justine Cassell, who taught the class and serves as a consultant for outfits like Mattel and Fisher-Price, says: “One thing toy companies have trouble knowing how to build is toys that encourage open-ended play. I try to bring them ways to build creative, imaginative language play.”

“Creative” is one way to describe 3rd grader Saje Beard’s commute: She rides a mule to school. Saje lives in a farming community just south of Bismarck, North Dakota, and Ruth gets her to the one-room, K-4 schoolhouse in about half an hour. “I feel more safe with her riding a mule than having her ride in a car or on a bus,” explains Saje’s father, Marty, who made his daughter a coonskin cap for the winter. He won’t, however, let Saje hit the road when the temperature is lower than zero. Ruth’s “fuel” consists of corn and sweet peas, and she wears carbide-studded shoes to make sure she doesn’t slip on the ice. Mules, Marty says, are also very protective of their riders. So if anyone might hassle Saje, he says, “[Ruth] would probably implant those special shoes on their forehead.”

We’ll make sure to steer clear.

Sources for all articles are available through links. Teacher Magazine does not take credit or responsibility for reporting in linked stories. Access to some may require registration or fee.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Data Webinar
Working Smarter, Not Harder with Data
There is a new paradigm shift in K-12 education. Technology and data have leapt forward, advancing in ways that allow educators to better support students while also maximizing their most precious resource – time. The
Content provided by PowerSchool
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Deepen the Reach and Impact of Your Leadership
This webinar offers new and veteran leaders a unique opportunity to listen and interact with four of the most influential educational thinkers in North America. With their expert insights, you will learn the key elements
Content provided by Solution Tree
Science K-12 Essentials Forum Teaching Science Today: Challenges and Solutions
Join this event which will tackle handling controversy in the classroom, and making science education relevant for all students.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education School Bus Driver Retires After 48 Years Behind Wheel
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick sat behind the wheel for the final time last week, wrapping up a 48-year career for the district.
3 min read
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick poses with one of her farewell signs. Flick has been driving for Charles City School District for 48 years.
Betty Flick quickly fell in love with the job and with the kids, which is what has had her stay in the district for this long.
Courtesy of Abby Koch/Globe Gazette
Education Briefly Stated: December 1, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: October 27, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read