Social Impact:

Changes to the teacher workforce in America


In the 18th century, the Founding Fathers were considered radical for wanting an educated populace. A nation of educated citizens requires teachers as a fundamental component of the idea of democracy — though in their time, only white, land-owning men could participate.


The Common School Movement

Horace Mann, an American educational reformer, advocated for the Common School Movement, an effort to provide free education to all students regardless of class. Additionally, several normal schools, which are known today as colleges of education, were founded to train teachers.

Horace Mann believed in expanding education to a larger group of people, so he needed a workforce that would work at a price affordable for taxpayers. Unfortunately, women were more affordable, which has contributed to the feminization of the profession.

Other contemporaries, like Catharine Beecher, believed women were “more nurturing,” and therefore, more of a natural teacher.
Prior to this, teaching had traditionally been more male-oriented. All of this contributes to the predominantly female workforce in the profession we know today.

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ould work at a price affordable for taxpayers. Unfortunately, women were more affordable, which has contributed to the feminization of the profession.

It is interesting that overall the teaching profession has continued to be somewhat female dominated. This section of the article makes me think about the assigned reading we had that tracked 7 trends in education over three decades that also mentioned that the teaching workforce is becoming more female dominated.

. Initially, these institutions trained black Americans to be teachers, and as a result, black Americans outnumbered the number of whites teaching in freedmen’s schools.

I wonder if there is a growing movement in favor of re-visiting this model of investing in and training specifically black Americans to be teachers. I am optimistic that further efforts to recruit from within the community, as opposed to desperately waiting for strong external candidates to come, will establish a strong foundation for schooling success. For instance, the likelihood of these internal teachers abandoning their role and their community when fced with difficulties is much less than it might be for a group of external teachers with a more short-term mindset. I am hopeful that public leaders will advocate for more internal training within their community, if they believe that will best serve the needs of their students.

he beginning of the 1950s marked the start of the movement to desegregated schools. Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 marked the beginning of desegregation and a push for racial equality. The focus on the broader needs of who and how students were educated impacted the way educators learned how to teach

This era marked great strides in civil rights for African Americans. Education today, in some areas, probably not all, may have forgotten the great accomplishments that Brown v. Board of Education brought. Perhaps the states in the U.S. in which its students are struggling could greatly benefit from a refresher course on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's valiant fight and beliefs that brought such tremendous positive change to the U.S.

increased population of immigrant students also led to a focus on citizenship as teachers sought to educate in terms of molding productive citizens.

Civics have always had a place in school since the earliest days under Horace Mann, but especially during this era. To some, schools were seen as institutions that could form immigrants into prosperous citizens while uniting various cultures together through a shared experience and adoption of English. The impact of this movement is still felt today even though bilingual classes exist and there is an increasing movement toward multiculturalism. Some fear this may cause division in the US, though.

The standardization movement impacts not only how teachers learn to teach, but also how they are licensed to do so.

Thirty years ago, we had no way to measure how students were doing in schools. There was no standard laying out expectations which is what led the way for standards based assessments. The standards movement ensured we knew what our students were learning and allowed for some added consistency for parents and teachers to count on. Beyond the standards that were put in place, we held schools with accountability to try to measure how well students were meeting the mandated standards. As mentioned, standards based assessments keep schools consistent and on track which can serve huge benefits for individual students and close gaps that students fall through when schools have varying expectations.

At the end of the Civil War, the Freedmen’s Bureau was established, and it funded the creation of schools for black Americans in the South. However, the funds were modest and, consequently, black Americans pooled their own resources to build schools, hire teachers and, ultimately, support black Americans’ ability to get an education.

It is interesting to read about the creation of this bureau and how Black schools have always struggled to get adequate funding from the government. This makes me think about a conversation that we had in a prior education policy course where we discussed the debate in the Black community over school desegregation. Many in the Black community didn't want desegregation because they didn't think it would change anything and possibly do more damage to Black students, and they were partially right. It makes me realize how limited the government actually is in helping the Black community with issues of racial inequality. There may be instances where the Black community is better off being left to build our own resources like we did during Reconstruction.

larger group of people, so he needed a workforce that would work at a price affordable for taxpayers. Unfortunately, women were more affordable, which has contributed to the feminization of the profession.

I think about this quite often when I think about the female pay gap. I read a book called Taking on the Big Boys and this book really opened up my mind to the intricacies of why women have been paid so little for so long and why female dominated professions are paid so much less. To think that these trends started in the 1840's and that we are still experiencing inequality in the work place is saddening.

till impacting education in 2019 — was the standardization movement, which began with the publication of A Nation at Risk report in 1983.

Having a standard of teaching is a good way to ensure what our students will be learning and by when. We now have a way to measure educational level by testing how much one knows. The problem is that many students are still performing below grade level, as we spoke about in class. We have come a long way from when we started, but still have some ways to go.