Teaching has traditionally been dominated by women. A hundred years ago , it was one of the few jobs available to women that didn't involve cooking, cleaning, or menial labor. Nursing was another profession, but teaching was held as a more prominent position back then. During that time period nearly 6% of the female work force were teachers, where women working as laborers 19%, or as servants 16%, or as laundresses 6.5% rounded out the work force. As of 1940, 55% of all college educated female workers in their early thirties were employed as teachers. Now be mindful that a woman working outside the home was not the normal situation, most were housewives and stay at home mothers. All that was soon to change!
Enter the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They were key factors in a societal shift that opened the door for the multiplication of opportunities for women. The day of the stay at home mom and full time housekeeper were numbered! More women went off to college and more women enter the work force. They started to take their place in more prominent positions of employment that used to be define as a male only club: law, medicine, business, finance, etc. (One of the unsung heroes of this revolution was the widespread use of baby formula, which allowed new mothers to get right back to work).
You might beginning to wonder where I'm going with this! Read on...
These demanding, competitive professions offered higher wages and attracted the brightest and best of the best women available. No longer was the female work force corralled into only menial labor, nursing or teaching employment. Our stockpile of teaching talent has now aspired to higher calling, well, higher paying callings. And as my high school physics (female) teacher taught me, for every action there is an equal reaction, at least that what I remember of that law.
Suddenly all of those educated women who might have chosen a position education our youth had other options. Consequence? The schoolteacher corps experienced a brain drain. In 1960 about 405 of female teachers scored in the top quintile of IQ, and other aptitude tests. A mere twenty years later (circa 1980), fewer than 20% were in the top quintile, with more than twice as many in the bottom. Here's another contributing factor, teachers wages have fallen significantly in relation to those other jobs. "The quality of teachers has been declining for decades," the chancellor of New York City's public schools declared in 2000, "and no one wants to talk about it."
Now it's not such a mystery why children of late suffer from a lack of a quality education. Despite the introduction of the computer and the dawn of the information age, the youth of today have to attain a college education to reach the level of education just a few decades ago was considered competency in a high school graduate. As you dumb down the elementary education, it falls in line higher education suffers as well.
Try this...Ask a child to write you something in cursive. Quiz them on the most commonly known history facts, the ones you had drilled into you as a youth. Lay out for them a math problem you were expected to solve at their grade level. After they disappoint you with the results, tell them to pull their pants up to their waist, get a belt, quit spending so much time playing video games and on the computer, and go read a good book.