Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/447

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443
MORE MEN IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

MORE MEN IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
By RICHARD L. SANDWICK.

AMONG the recent movements in education, none is more worthy of notice than the call for more men in public school work. The proportion of women teachers has grown steadily. Fifty years ago the men engaged in school work outnumbered the women; the civil war reversed this, and the gap has widened every succeeding year. There are fewer men teaching to-day than there were in 1860, but there are four times as many women. Women will probably continue to do a greater part of the teaching. It is generally recognized that women are better suited than men to instruct young children; and there is certainly a place for them both as teachers and students all the way up from kindergarten to college. Women have exerted a softening and humanizing influence that is accountable in part for the change from the rough school of fifty years ago, from which the teacher was not seldom pitched into the road by his bigger pupils, to the happy, orderly school-room of to-day. Women teachers have accepted a salary of scarcely half what men of like capacity would have accepted. They have thus been the means of extending the public school system to a point far beyond what tax-payers would have borne if equal intelligence had been secured from men. For these and other services in education women are to be congratulated.

And yet we can not help believing that any further increase in the relative number of women teachers would not be to the interests of education. Women outnumber the men in high schools already; and below the high school they reign supreme. Many large city schools of grammar grade employ no men teachers. A majority of boys and girls never come under the instruction of men. There is danger in this of a one-sided development: both sexes are being educated by the sex whose relation to the political and industrial systems is not usually that of either voters or wage-earners.

Less than one woman in five is engaged in earning a living. Of these comparatively few are under the necessity of so doing. They seldom have persons dependent upon them for support, and not often would suffer if thrown out of employment. Their earnings are usually additional to the support given them by others and are regarded as supplementary to the family budget. Even when engaged away from home they can usually count on a father's support in case work fails. Marriage relieves most women of the responsibility of self-support, and