In this country, teaching always has been considered, condescendingly, a "women's profession" -- a legacy of outdated sexual stereotypes that defined men as "breadwinners" and dismissed teaching as "women's work."
Today there is general agreement that public school students could benefit from seeing more male teachers -- especially minority males -- as role models and mentors. But for all the talk, not much progress has been made.
The reasons are obvious. Teacher pay scales traditionally have been lower than those for other professions, and opportunities for promotion and pay raises are limited. A recent survey by the National Education Association found almost three-quarters of public school teachers were women, while the percentage of male teachers is at its lowest point in 30 years.