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.
2003—Ground Zero Plus 675
Be a Sentinel of K-3 Vigilance
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
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
only 4,000 men elementary teachers out of a membership of
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
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
"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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Sentinel of Educational Vigilance
The question is: What can all of us
do who are not teachers to resolve this problem?
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.
July 18-- KEEPING IT SIMPLE
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