The Percentage of Women Teachers in the Nation’s Schools Continues to Rise

A new study by the U.S. Department of Education offers a look at the changing demographics of the teacher workforce in the nation’s K-12 school systems over the quarter-century period from 1987 to 2012.

The data shows that in 1987 there were 1,878,600 women teachers employed by the nation’s elementary and secondary schools. That year, there were 751,800 male teachers in the nation’s schools. Thus, women made up 71.4 percent of the teacher workforce.

By 2012, the number of women teaching in the nation’s schools had grown by 56 percent to 2,931,100. The number of male teachers increased by 22.2 percent to 919,000. As a result, the percentage of all teachers who were women increased from 71.4 percent in 1987 to 76.1 percent in 2012.

In 1987, women made up 78.2 percent of all new teachers in elementary and secondary schools. In 2012, this percentage had declined to 75.6 percent. If men are a greater percentage of new teachers but a smaller percentage of all teachers, it appears that the retention of male teachers is a problem that should be addressed.

The full study, A Quarter Century of Changes in the Elementary and Secondary Teaching Force: From 1987 to 2012, may be downloaded here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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