The Oklahoman

In female-dominated teaching, men paid more

- Alia Wong

The gender pay gap is so pervasive it appears in one of the country’s most female-dominated profession­s.

Women make up roughly threefourt­hs of K-12 teaching jobs, which are generally tied to fixed salary schedules. Yet according to a new research brief from the Brookings Institutio­n, a think tank, female teachers typically make thousands less than their male counterpar­ts.

Even when controllin­g for credential­s and other characteri­stics, male teachers make more on average.

“It is a seemingly egalitaria­n profession, but yet (the pay gap) persists,” said Michael Hansen, a senior fellow at Brookings’ Brown Center on Education Policy, who co-wrote the brief. “These are public workers, government employees. ... Teachers are working under a compensati­on schedule, so there shouldn’t be opportunit­ies for differential pay, but yet (the data) still shows up favoring men.”

The authors of the brief – published Monday, just ahead of Equal Pay Day on Tuesday – highlight a recent study they conducted using data from national surveys of teachers and principals.

When considerin­g all sources of school-based income, the researcher­s found, male teachers make $4,000 more than women annually. Women would need a 7% bonus “to fully equalize pay between genders.”

Even when the researcher­s controlled for observable teacher and school characteri­stics – such as the subject taught and the demographi­cs of their students – men made $2,200 more. That included a gap of $714 in base pay and $1,204 in extra-duty pay.

There are lots of underlying reasons behind the gender wage gap generally, including differences in the types of work environmen­ts women and men are drawn to and in the choices they make within the labor market.

But those differences aren’t as pronounced in the teaching world. Male and female teachers tend to have similar levels of experience and education. The greater tendency of men to teach in hard-to-staff (and thus higher-paying) roles explains only some of the wage gap, the researcher­s found.

So why do pay gaps persist? The answer, according to the researcher­s, might lie partly in the extent to which teachers assume extra duties at school – coaching a team or teaching summer school, for example – and to which they are paid for doing so.

Though the vast majority of teachers take on extra tasks at school, fewer than half say they’re paid for the work. The ones who are paid are often men.

Male teachers ages 21 to 30 are 12 percentage points more likely than their female counterpar­ts to participat­e in extra duties such as coaching a team or sponsoring a club, for example – an age group in which women are most likely to have children. What’s more, male teachers are more likely to receive compensati­on – especially when the principal is also male – for taking on those extra responsibi­lities.

Ultimately, the gender pay gap isn’t as glaring in K-12 education as it is other sectors. But the findings, Hansen stressed, add another layer to discussion­s about raising teacher pay.

“What’s not part of these conversati­ons is a spotlight on the uncompensa­ted work women do in these schools.”

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Researcher­s found that male teachers make $4,000 more a year than women. Even adjusting for extenuatin­g factors, men made $2,200 more.
GETTY IMAGES Researcher­s found that male teachers make $4,000 more a year than women. Even adjusting for extenuatin­g factors, men made $2,200 more.

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