Teaching industry goes retro?
The large-scale arrival of women in the U.S. workforce has brought
serious change to many industries, certainly including education. The Economist
peeks at the social consequences of this transition, specifically how
these changes have affected decisions on motherhood. Previously, one of
the few paths open to women was teaching. Hence many entered the
classroom and lots of these were talented, smart, and good at what they
did. As the labor market opened up, however, women had tons more
options. Meanwhile, the education industry continued to grow, more
teaching jobs were created, and status and salaries remained stagnant.
Result: The caliber of teachers went down. Today, perhaps, a silver
lining is emerging in this cloud. More women are seeking careers that
enable them either to work from home with flexible hours or to follow
schedules that roughly coincide with their children’s. Teaching, either
virtually or in the classroom, seems to fit the bill. Wouldn’t it be
ironic if, forty years after the rise of modern feminism, women chose to
re-enter the careers they left behind? Might education get a talent
boost as a result?
“Female power,” The Economist, December 30, 2009