An MSN article notes that male teachers continue to take a nosedive:

According to statistics recently released by the National Education Association (NEA), men made up just 24.4 percent of the total number of teachers in 2006. In fact, the number of male public school teachers in the U.S. has hit a record 40-year low. Arkansas, at 17.5 percent, and Mississippi, with 17.7 percent, have the lowest percentage of male teachers, while Kansas, at 33.3 percent, and Oregon, with 31.4 percent, boast the largest percentage of men leading the classroom…..

Why the downward trend in male teaching? According to Bryan Nelson, founder of MenTeach, a nonprofit organization dedicated to recruiting male teachers, research suggests three key reasons for the shortage of male teachers: low status and pay, the perception that teaching is “women’s work,” and the fear of accusation of child abuse.

Many men once in the profession say they quit because of worries that innocuous contact with students could be misconstrued, reports the NEA.

In addition to worrying about being called a pervert, men also face discrimination in the interview process, according to the article:

For men thinking of heading into education, Nelson offered hard-won advice: Be persistent. Get practical experience first. Look for resources to help you get through school, and, when applying for a job, make sure you have thick skin.

“People will ask you inappropriate questions,” he said, recalling a recent e-mail he received from an aspiring male teacher who was asked during a job interview, “Why would any healthy male want to work with kids?”

In such situations, Nelson suggests stressing the positive aspects of having a man in the classroom. “When kids see [a man] in front of them on a daily basis, it helps to contradict negative stereotypes,” Nelson said.

So men are told to get a thick skin, get used to handling “inappropriate questions,” and learn to contradict negative sterotypes. In other words, if men are discriminated against, it is up to them to deal with the fall-out and to change negative steroptypes and to expect no help from other people. So men are guilty unless proven otherwise. Reader Mike who sent me the article link had this to say about the sexist way male teachers are handled at interviews:

What would the NEA or NOW or NAACP or…. say if “gay & transgendered” or “woman” or “black person” or…. the acceptable list goes on & on, were it substituted for “healthy male”??? I do believe something stronger than “inappropriate questions” would be used to describe this – no? And I would expect the ACLU to be filing suit within hours – yes?

The ACLU filing suit for sexism against men? Uhh, doubtful. Expect the downward trend of males in teaching to continue, for just like the marriage strike, most smart men will be hesitant to enter an institution where being male puts them at risk of being charged with abuse, having their livelihood taken from them with little or no due process, and being taken from the children that they love.