Article Overview:   What role do men play or not play in the building of children's character?  Educational surveys show that highly involved men in the education of children among two-parent families increase a child's ability to learn, make good grades, and avoid trouble.    But, there are two problems.  One, lack of elementary male teachers as role models, and, a penchant for men to not be highly involved in school activities.   


Saturday--July 19, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 675
Be a Sentinel of K-3 Vigilance
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

  GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--July 19, 2003-- In 1848, the elementary school teacher was primarily a male.   There were scant women teachers in those days.

The Beast of Terror likes the disparity of men teachers

   Today, the tables are turned. There are less than 4 percent male elementary teachers from K-3, and the Beast of Terror likes the disparity.  He loves not having men around to help in fight the battle of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency that plague millions of young children
    But, the winds are changing.   Retired cops are working their way toward the Beast's lair to bring strong role male role models to an arena where the lack of male teachers is startling.
    A friend of mine named Terry is one of these Sentinels of Educational Vigilance about to put the Beast of Elementary School Terror on notice.
     He's recently retired from twenty years on the NYPD, has a 10-year-old daughter, and at age 44 is eager to teach children not only the knowledge necessary to learn their A-B-C's, but the wisdom that goes along with it.   He will serve not just as a teacher, but as a role model for children seeking to anchor themselves.
     Terry is a pioneer in this renewed Anti-Terror thrust to bolster education's weakness of dominate female gender inequity.
     The National Association Education For Young Children, comprising teachers for the kindergarten through the third grade, boasts a membership of 103,525.   Only 4,000 of these elementary teachers are men, and a mere 360 of them are persons of color.

There are only 4,000 men elementary teachers out of a membership of 103,525

     With a little less than 4 percent of all K-3 grade teachers representing the male role model, children in their most formative school years are learning that men have a miniscule role, if any at all, in their early education.  The fractional presence of men suggests the "male role model" doesn't "care as much" about education as their counterparts, the female.  At least, this is the opinion of top educators struggling to attract more males to early teaching profession.

Shirley Igo, President of the National Parent Teacher Association

      Shirley Igo, president of the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA), an organization whose membership combined with National Education Association (NEA) enjoys 6.2 million members, notes that of the nation's 3 million teachers, only 26 percent are male, and of that 26 percent, only 15 percent teach at the elementary level.
       The problems of male educators at the elementary level are not simple.    Three reasons percolate to keep the males from embracing elementary education.   First, is low pay.   Second, a constant concern about being accused of sex abuse, and lastly, the image of "weakness" or lack of "masculinity."
       "Men tend to prefer teaching older children," noted on male educator, "because they think it detracts from their masculinity to teacher younger children," he added.   "That is a big mistake and a loss for our children."
       On the economic side, low starting salaries of $20,000-a-year area nationally, drive away numerous teachers.  Except in Michigan.
       With the average teacher's annual salary ranging around $50,000  Michigan's male teacher population is 37 percent, compared to the national average of 26 percent.  Money obviously does have some role in the male decision to teach.
       Elementary teachers rank at the 23 percent level in Michigan, versus the 16 percent rate posted by the NPTA and National Education Association on a national basis..
       A Beast of Terror that likes to imprint upon a child that male leadership is vacant, enjoys the lack of men in the elementary section of education.   It helps reinforce the "abandonment" issue, that men don't "care" as much as women, and tips the balance of diversity between genders.
      Men, according to surveys by the NEA, tend to provide more discipline in classrooms in addition to role models of "equal caring."
      With 12 percent of America's 100 million households headed up by a single-parent female, the problem of male role modeling for a child is increased.   These 12.9 million households have slim pickings when it comes to receiving Vigilance instructions from male leadership, especially in the K-3 grade levels.
      This problem is not limited to the United States.  The BBC recently reported that nearly one-quarter, or one-in-four children in England and Wales, live in single parent households.  This is nearly double the U.S. rate.

90 % of gang members  are male and seek to follow a surrogate male "father"

      Juvenile gang researchers find that 90 percent of gang members are male, seeking to follow a leader--their surrogate male "father."   They tend to come from single-family backgrounds, usually in urban areas and 90 percent from minority groups with low income or high rates of poverty.
      The Beast of Terror loves to attack the vulnerability of children resulting when men are not equally represented in the teaching ranks.   Gangs are one example.
      But there is light shining at the end of the tunnel.

Men Teach was started to further men as elementary teachers

     In 1979 an organization was started to promote and recruit men elementary school teachers.   The group, called Men Teach, is driven by a demand for gender diversification at the elementary school level.    It seeks to destroy myths such as the "loss of masculinity" for teaching K-3, and, offers education and information about men's concern for being accused of sexual molestation when they teach younger children.
      My friend, Terry, is another example of change.
      Prior to retirement, he worked many jobs for the NYPD as a 1st Grade Detective, including undercover narcotics.   He understands the difference between a good education that inspires one to achieve, and the lack of one that makes the ghetto a rut in which no one can escape except by joining a gang.
      I'm most tuned into this issue because I have a 7-year-old grandson and a 5-year-old granddaughter.   I spend a lot of time with them, eager to share with them my wisdoms, my experiences, and to answer all their questions as best I can.  When Sarah, my granddaughter plays "G-Ma School" with my wife, she often questions why all her Montessori teachers are "girl teachers" and why Matt, her brother, has only one "boy teacher" in his K-8 grade school of over 200 students.
      I recognize the difference between men and women, and know that the well-rounded child is the sum of his or her input.  If, a Parent or Loved One of Vigilance doesn't issue the wisdoms of life, the child will be off-balance.  Receiving only the "female" or only the "male" point of view can skew a child's mind-set, creating imbalance rather than balance.

The higher percentage of women over men actively involved in  children's education creates an imbalanced mindset

       In June 2000, the U.S. Department of Education conducted a survey of family households.  Part of its mission was to see what impact a father's involvement in education had upon the children.    The survey noted that fathers who were actively involved in their children's education by attending parent teacher conferences, going to school events, and volunteering at school boosted the children's grades and reduced the "hold back" rate of children to repeat grades.
       Terrorism, the act of instilling Fear, Intimidation and Complacency into the minds of its victims, can be achieved by sheer negligence.   A fatherless family is certainly the breeding ground for the Beast of Terror, for the child feels abandoned, marooned, deserted and unloved.  
      Fueling that fire is the lack of a male image in K-3 grades.
      With divorce rates running at 50 percent, a child can become fatherless in the snap of two parents' fingers to dissolve their relationship.    It doesn't take a child long to search out role models when there isn't a live one to cleave to.
       This isn't to suggest that a woman cannot be Vigilant, or teach Vigilance to a child.  Courage, Conviction and Right Action is not specific to sex, it doesn't discriminate between a man and woman.   But, when a child is drinking from the well of both the female and male model, and each is offering the child Vigilance Training by imparting to them the wisdoms of their gender-specific life, then children will only be strengthened, not weakened.
       An athlete who has a weak leg knows that by favoring it, he or she may injure the good leg.   So is leaning on the experience of only one sex dangerous.   When females dominate the instruction of a child, by default, the child misses out on the "other half" of life's equation.

Officer Terry, Sentinel of Educational Vigilance

       The question is:  What can all of us do who are not teachers to resolve this problem?

       First, encourage all the men you know thinking of becoming teachers to look down not up.  The K-3 years are the most powerful, for they form the foundation for many viewpoints.

       Two, promote the "masculinity" of the job.   A man's stature is highest when he is protecting the children from harm.   No greater duty or responsibility exists to that of shaping a child's future outlook.  By muscling the decision to be an elementary teacher, you can help whomever you're talking with to become a true Sentinel of Vigilance.   A K-3 teacher can shape a child's entire outlook on life.
      Finally, Parents and Loved One's of Vigilance can lobby and work toward increasing teacher's pay.    There is no more valuable an investment than to boost the rewards for teaching.   And, while money isn't everything, it certainly shouldn't be a handicap.
     Be a Sentinel of K-3 Vigilance.
     Promote male elementary school teaching. 




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