A Statistical Snapshot

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She is white, 43 years old, and makes $35,549 a year. That, at a glance, is a portrait of the average American teacher, according to survey data released this summer by the National Education Association.

The union, which polls a nationally representative sample of public school teachers every five years, conducted this survey in 1996. Of the 1,325 respondents, three out of four were women, and nine out of 10 were white. Only 7 percent were black--a slight drop from five years ago. And among those teachers who were black, only 14 percent were male.

"This speaks to the absolutely essential need to expand the pipeline of people entering the profession in general, and specifically for underrepresented groups," says Segun Eubanks of Recruiting New Teachers Inc., a Belmont, Massachusetts, group promoting efforts to increase the quality and diversity of the teaching force. "When I speak to recruiters across the country, they say the need for male elementary school teachers of color has reached crisis proportions."

Additional survey findings follow:

  • Some 46 percent of teachers have more than 20 years of experience, and 48 percent hold a master's degree.
  • Although 42 percent call themselves Democrats and 29 percent Republicans, 61 percent also describe themselves as "conservative" or say they "tend to be conservative."
  • About 58 percent live within their school districts' geographic boundaries.
  • Some 7 percent of those with school-age children send one child to a private school, while 3 percent have two children in private school.
  • Teachers working in departmentalized settings, like those found in most junior high and high schools, see an average of 94 students a day and have five preparation periods a week.
  • The average workweek for teachers is 36.3 hours long, but they report working, on average, an additional 6.2 hours a week on other compensated duties, such as coaching, and 11.2 hours a week on noncompensated duties, such as grading papers.

Vol. 09, Issue 01, Page 22

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