America’s disdain for public education is rooted in it’s oppression of women. One wouldn’t be presumptuous to believe if teaching was a male-dominated field, the profession would be viewed and treated vastly different.
About 77 percent of America’s 3.2 million public school teachers are women. What society requires them to endure and accept in the workplace speaks volumes of how we feel about our daughters. We can’t ignore the role sexism has played in our disrespect displayed toward public education.
What we permit to be done to women is what we permit to be done to our daughters.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 6 percent of teachers were victims of physical assault. However, districts across the nation have grossly under-reported incidents of violence against staff. In 2011, the American Psychological Association surveyed 3,000 teachers and found 44 percent reported being physically assaulted in the workplace that school year and 80 percent reported being victims of verbal or physical abuse. The study estimates the cost in dollars of violence toward teachers is about $2 billion annually.
Why the discrepancy in numbers? The NCES numbers are reported by districts, while the APA study was reported by teachers. In addition, many teachers fail to report incidents of violence. While the APA study is small sample size, it’s the largest of its kind.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 2 million workers were victims of violence last year. According to NCES statistics, that would mean 10 percent of those victims were teachers, making it the second largest group, behind the Healthcare profession, which is also female dominated. According to which statistics used, women comprise 65-80 percent of the healthcare sector.
These numbers should raise alarms, but much of society views it as part of the job. We lose sight that no employee, regardless of profession, should have to accept any type of violence or assault. It would also appear that assault is more acceptable when directed at women.
I have a daughter. She’s only 5. I cringe when I hear the sexist remarks of politicians and others. I am attempting to instill in her every bit of self-worth and self-respect she deserves, and I hope I am successful in teaching her she is inferior to no one and to never accept any less than she deserves. However, as a nation, we are failing our daughters. What message are we sending by electing leaders who degrade women, or by permitting any level of violence or harassment of women in the workplace?
In Jefferson County, Kentucky, there were 5,744 incidents of physical assault toward teachers reported in the 2018-2019 school year, that’s an average of 32 per day and 36 per school.
I teach in Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s a large district, of about 100,000 students and 158 schools, so some may look at the numbers and think they aren’t that bad. However, there were 5,744 incidents of physical assault toward teachers reported in the 2018-2019 school year, that’s an average of 32 per day and 36 per school. My middle school, reported 22 such incidents. Why is this acceptable? If the district was male-dominated, would this be accepted?
I also work in a state where the previous governor insulted teachers regularly, calling them ignorant and mis-informed, among many other insults. I can’t help but think that governor would have sang a different tune of the majority of teachers were men.
Bottom line, female teachers are our mothers, wives, daughters. They deserve so much more o four respect and gratitude than we are offering. Our actions as a society, are showing we care little for women, particularly in the workplace, and to do so, shoes we care little for our daughters’ well being. After all, our daughters will grow up and enter the workplace, and whether its as teachers or some other profession, what we permit to be done to women is what we permit to be done to our daughters.