Did Sexist Men Make Education Better?


I write part time -Trying to write full time- over at The Constitution Club.  I’m cross  posting this here:

I’m gonna be upfront here. Don’t read this if you are faint of heart or can’t handle true things. There are gonna be things called facts strewn about and they may hurt.

I’m just sayin’.

I remember awhile back tellin’ my wife that I thought she was one of the reasons that our education system isn’t doing as well as we would like.

She looked at me and asked “Why?”

I said, “Because you are a woman.”

I had to walk home, but I have my reasons.

You see, in the “old days” women really were discriminated against in the workplace. Many occupations and jobs simply weren’t available to women.

But one was. Teaching.

And so it was that our best young women who wanted to enter the job market, as it were, entered it as a teacher. And they were great.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to work…women achieved more and more gender equality until…whammo! The whole of the working world was open to them. And guess what happened?

Until a few decades ago, employment discrimination perversely strengthened our teaching force. Brilliant women became elementary school teachers, because better jobs weren’t open to them. It was profoundly unfair, but the discrimination did benefit America’s children.

These days, brilliant women become surgeons and investment bankers – …

And the world was right! Women were able to compete for, and win, some of the best jobs in America. We had achieved our goal, equality at last! Except for one small detail:

… 47 percent of America’s kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers come from the bottom one-third of their college classes (as measured by SAT scores).

Blink. Blink.

47% come from the bottom 1/3. Jeepers!

As women were more and more able to compete in the market place for excellent jobs, they left teaching. And with men, and now women, working to land that “dream job”, the role of filling the job of teacher fell to the …. well, it fell to the lowest performers.

Now, to be sure, this is a general statement. Certainly top students enter the teaching profession. I, personally, have many friends and family that are fantastically smart and have become teachers.

God bless ’em.

But the fact is that we’re losing our best and brightest to other professions. And no matter what happens in Wisconsin or Ohio or Illinois or wherever, we need our best. And our brightest. To want to become teachers.

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7 comments
  1. Henry said:

    Hey, is it time for sumer reruns already. I remember reading this story a few months ago on your blog. I did a search and found it was from March 15, 2011. Are WE, the readers, still supposed to send you the full payment, or do we get a discount? What? Doesn’t everyone send you money for your daily wit & wisdom?

    • pino said:

      I remember reading this story a few months ago on your blog. I did a search and found it was from March 15, 2011.

      Ack! You are right. This is what happens when you try to post additional content late at night!

      Are WE, the readers, still supposed to send you the full payment, or do we get a discount? What? Doesn’t everyone send you money for your daily wit & wisdom?

      Yes. Continue to send in your current subscription! 😉

  2. Moe said:

    Just a little note here pino – women didn’t start teaching in real schools in the US till the mid-1800’s; prior to that, teachers were men. The founding generation and the industrial revolution generation were pretty much educated by men.

    Also I think we had women teaching here earlier than in Europe or S. America or Asia. The problem isn’t that the best women are being drained off, if in fact htat’s true – perhaps the problem is that men abandoned the profession.

  3. Moe said:

    Also – if men left the profession for better opportunies elsewhere and then 100 years later women did the same thing, that suggest the solution is within our grasp. Make the profession lucrative. If we value education, we would pay more and that would attract better people.

    By the way, I’m pretty much stipulating your point for the sake of discussion. I’m not agreeing with it.

    • pino said:

      If we value education, we would pay more and that would attract better people.

      I totally agree.

      One of the reasons I left teaching was that promotion and raises were not merit based; no matter how good I was, or poor “they” were, I would never make more than them. There existed no incentive to be better. Add to that the fact that you can’t remove older teachers for ineffective performance and you have the perfect storm of bad incentives.

      Add to that the fact that I don’t think we really value education and you get what we got.

      • Moe said:

        Count me as one liberal who – with some internal conflict – supports the rights of labor but thinks the NEA has to go – they protect themselves and thus disserve the children.

        As my grandfather used to say – Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

      • pino said:

        As my grandfather used to say – Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

        Well SAID!

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