4948 teachers

conflict between workers and managers. Sec
ond, the emergence of organizational hierarchies
and the concomitant ideology of Taylorism
encouraged managers and engineers to disregard
workers knowledge of the production process,
which created obstacles to improving efficiency.
Third, the reimbursement system initiated by
Taylor contributed to inequality by establishing
a system of pay differentials between managers
and workers, which reached a historical high
point in the late twentieth and early twenty first
centuries.

SEE ALSO: Alienation; Capitalism; Decision
Making; Fordism/Post Fordism; Ideology;
Labor Process; Marxism and Sociology; Weber,
Max; Work, Sociology of

REFERENCES AND SUGGESTED
READINGS

Braverman, H. (1974) Labor and Monopoly Capital.
Monthly Review Press, New York.
Edward, R. (1979) Contested Terrain. Basic Books,
New York.
Prechel, H. (2000) Big Business and the State. State
University of New York Press, Albany.
Taylor, F. W. (1967 [1911]) The Principles of Scien
tific Management. W. W. Norton, New York.

teachers

Kristin Gordon

With over 3 million teachers working in the US
public school system, teaching attracts consider
able attention from sociologists. Many issues
have been explored. Dominating the field are
questions concerning teachers roles, quality,
professional status, training, gender compo
sition, pay, staffing, and placement. Teachers
play multiple roles in the educational process.
First, teachers impart academic skills and
knowledge (human capital). Second, teachers
socialize children in the lifestyles, values, and
cultures of society (cultural capital). The impor
tance of the academic, social, and cultural
dimensions of this work for children raises one
of the foremost questions in research on tea
chers: Does teacher quality matter? Early
research studying the impact of teacher creden
tials and experience largely indicated that tea
cher quality did not consistently relate to student
achievement. More recent exploration reveals
that teacher preparation, particularly subject
matter knowledge, does positively impact stu
dent achievement.
In addition to debates over teacher quality,
the occupation is plagued by questionable pro
fessional status. In an effort to assert teacher
professionalism, new models of teacher train
ing have emerged. Historically, normal schools
assumed responsibility for instruction in teach
ing theory and pedagogy. As teachers increas
ingly turned towards colleges and universities
for training, substantive knowledge began dom
inating the curriculum. Today, reforms aimed at
affirming teacher professionalism stress initial
and ongoing training in subject area knowledge.
The gender composition of the occupation
also contributes to its questionable professional
status. Teaching in the US began as a male
occupation. Around 1850, teaching became a
predominantly female occupation and this pat
tern persists today. Despite the fact that teach
ing is a female dominated occupation, men are
over represented in administrative positions.
This occupational sex segregation reinforces
the semi professional status and low pay of
teaching. These factors are held partly respon
sible for the current staffing problems afflicting
the occupation.
Recent research indicates that the US con
tinues to have difficulty staffing classrooms with
qualified teachers. Two possible causes of
school staffing problems have been investigated:
increased enrollments combined with high tea
cher retirement and teacher turnover. Recent
research provides limited support for the notion
that staffing problems are the result of increased
enrollments and retirements. Rather, the evi
dence indicates that large numbers of teach
ers are leaving the occupation in response to
problematic working conditions, specifically
student discipline problems and insufficient
administrative support. One consequence of
these school staffing problems is the grow
ing occurrence of out of field teaching. This
phenomenon, in which a teacher does not pos
sess a major or minor in their teaching field, is