Humanities Indicators
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K-12 Education  >  Primary- and Secondary-School Faculty
 
Demographic Characteristics of Humanities Teachers

The U.S. Department of Education’s Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) provides a demographic snapshot of the nation’s primary- and secondary-school teachers. These data reveal some continuities but also some striking discontinuities between the humanities and other subject areas with respect to the age, gender, and ethnic composition of their faculties.

Findings and Trends

  • In the 2007–2008 school year, teachers of humanities subjects constituted 18.7% of the K–12 private, public, and Bureau of Indian Education teacher population. This percentage does not include “general” educators in the elementary grades who spent a portion of their time teaching language arts, reading, history, and other humanities material. These general educators represent 32% of the K–12 teaching corps.
  • Teachers under 30 years of age represented 18% of the humanities teaching corps. Approximately one-third of humanities teachers were age 50 or older (Indicator I-10a).
  • Like K–12 teachers in all other subject areas, the majority of humanities teachers were female (Indicator I-10b). However, the disparity between the numbers of female and male teachers was more pronounced in the humanities than in the other subjects. With a teaching force that was three-quarters female, the gender distribution of humanities teachers was most similar to that of arts teachers (including teachers of studio art, dance, drama, and music), 70% of whom were women. The most gender-balanced faculty, with a female to male ratio of 51% to 49%, was that of the behavioral and social sciences.
  • The racial composition of the humanities teaching corps did not mirror that of the student population (Indicator I-10c). Students were more than twice as likely as their teachers to be African American, Asian, or Native American.
  • Although humanities teachers were more likely to be Hispanic than were teachers in any other subject, the proportion of Hispanic humanities teachers (10.4%) was only about half as large as the percentage of American school children of Hispanic descent (Indicator I-10d). Just over 50% of humanities teachers who described themselves as being of Hispanic ethnicity taught either English as a second language or Spanish.
I-10a: Age Distribution of Primary and Secondary School Teachers,* by Subject Taught, 2007–2008

* Public, private, and Bureau of Indian Education schools. Includes regular full- and part-time teachers, itinerant teachers, and long-term substitutes.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, 2007–2008 Schools and Staffing Survey (restricted-use data files).

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I-10b: Gender Composition of Primary and Secondary School Teacher Population, by Subject Taught, 2007–2008*

* Public, private, and Bureau of Indian Education schools. Includes regular full- and part-time teachers, itinerant teachers, and long-term substitutes.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, 2007–2008 Schools and Staffing Survey (restricted-use data files).

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I-10c: Percentage of Minority Primary and Secondary Humanities Teachers, Compared with Student Population, 2007–2008*

* Public, private, and Bureau of Indian Education schools. Includes regular full- and part-time teachers, itinerant teachers, and long-term substitutes.
** All reported percentages exclude students and teachers who reported being of Hispanic ethnicity or more than one race.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, 2007–2008 Schools and Staffing Survey (restricted-use data files).

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I-10d: Percentage of Primary and Secondary School Teachers of Hispanic Ethnicity, by Subject Taught and Compared with the Student Population, 2007–2008*

* Public, private, and Bureau of Indian Education schools. Includes regular full- and part-time teachers, itinerant teachers, and long-term substitutes. See Note on Teacher Race and Ethnicity Data for a discussion of the comparability of teacher and student data. Percentages include all teachers and students of Hispanic ethnicity, irrespective of race.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, 2007–2008 Schools and Staffing Survey (restricted-use data files); Common Core of Data (data analyzed online at http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/bat/); Stephen P. Broughman, Nancy L. Swaim, and Patrick W. Keaton, Characteristics of Private Schools in the United States: Results from the 2007–08 Private School Universe Survey, NCES 2009-313 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, 2009), http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009313.pdf; and Jill Fleury DeVoe and Kristen E. Darling-Churchill, Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008, NCES 2008-084 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, 2008), http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008084.pdf.

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