Monday, January 2, 2017

Few women run the nation's school districts. Why? | PBS NewsHour

Few women run the nation's school districts. Why? | PBS NewsHour:

Few women run the nation’s school districts. Why?

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Nearly a decade after she was hired as the first woman to run the Council Bluffs, Iowa, school district, Mary Martha Bruckner is often one of the only women in the room.
That was the case in October when about two dozen superintendents and finance officers from Iowa’s urban school systems met to set their legislative agenda for the coming year.
Surveying the room, Bruckner spotted two other women.
“It was like, ‘Wow, things haven’t changed much at all,'” said Bruckner, who is used to being a pioneer. In 1986, she became the first female high school principal in the Ralston, Nebraska, district.
Even though K-12 education is largely a female enterprise, men dominate the chief executive’s office in the nation’s nearly 14,000 districts, numbers that look especially bleak given that the pool of talent is deep with women. Women make up 76 percent of teachers, 52 percent of principals, and 78 percent of central-office administrators, according to federal data and the results of a recent national survey. Yet they account for less than a quarter of all superintendents, according to a survey conducted this summer by AASA, the School Superintendents Association. But that number represents improvement since 2000, when 13 percent were women.
Even though K-12 education is largely a female enterprise, men dominate the chief executive’s office in numbers that look especially bleak given that the pool of talent is deep with women.
In Utah, the number of women in superintendent’s offices can be counted on one hand. Schenectady, New York, hasn’t had a woman in charge in the district’s 162-year history. Just two years ago, Richmond County, Georgia’s second-largest district, hired its first female superintendent.
“It’s a huge problem,” said Margaret Grogan, the dean of the college of educational studies at Chapman University in Orange, California. “If we have talented administrators, wouldn’t you want all of the talented administrators to move into the superintendency? After all, that’s the position that has the most power to facilitate the growth and development of all of the children and families in the district.”
An unappealing job?
Though only a small number make it to the helm, women currently run some of the largest school systems, including those in New York City, Los Angeles, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
So why do so few women occupy the top job?
Some simply don’t want it. They prefer teaching and being close to students. The hours Few women run the nation's school districts. Why? | PBS NewsHour:


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