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Indicator I-10 Demographic Characteristics of Humanities Teachers
NOTE TO READERS: Please include the following reference when citing data from this page: "American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Humanities Indicators, http://HumanitiesIndicators.org".
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Updated (1/13/2011).

See the
Note on Teacher Race and Ethnicity Data.

The 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.

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.1 (For counts of K–12 humanities teachers and other humanities educators, see Indicator III-1, Size and Occupational Distribution of the Humanities Workforce). The age distribution of these humanities teachers was similar to that of teachers in the arts, mathematics, and natural sciences (Figure I-10a). Teachers under 30 years of age represented 18% of the humanities teaching corps. Approximately one-third of humanities teachers were age 50 or older.

Like teachers in all other subject areas, the majority of humanities teachers were female (Figure-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 (these include teachers of studio art, dance, drama, and music), approximately 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.

Figure I-10a, Full Size
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Figure I-10b, Full Size
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The ethnic composition of the humanities teaching corps does not mirror that of the student population (Figure I-10c; See the Note on Teacher Race and Ethnicity Data for a discussion of the comparability of teacher and student data). 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 (Figure I-10d). A supplemental analysis performed by Humanities Indicators staff revealed that just over 50% of humanities teachers who described themselves as being of Hispanic ethnicity taught either English as a second language or Spanish.

Figure I-10c, Full Size
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Figure I-10d, Full Size
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Note on Teacher Race and Ethnicity Data

Due to differences among the 2007–2008 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), Common Core of Data (CCD), and Private School Universe Survey (PSUS) in the way that respondents were permitted to describe themselves, the data presented here on the racial and ethnic composition of the humanities teacher population are not strictly comparable to those for students.

The SASS employed a two-question format. Teachers were first asked whether they were Hispanic. They were then asked to describe their race using as many of five provided categories as they wished. Possible response categories were: “white”, “black or African-American”, “Asian”, “native Hawaiian or other Pacific islander”, and “American Indian or Alaska native”. In contrast, the CCD and PSUS asked state and school administrators to count students in only one of five racial/ethnic categories. These categories were “white”, “black (non-Hispanic), “Asian or Pacific Islander”, “American Indian or Alaska Native”, and “Hispanic”.

The table below describes the persons included by The Humanities Indicators in each of the race and ethnicity categories referenced in Figures I-10c and I-10d. The reported percentages were calculated by dividing the number of students or teachers in each category by the total number of teachers or students.

HUMANITIES INDICATORS RACE/ETHNICITY CATEGORY Teacher Data Type
(SASS; data supplied by teachers)
Student Data Type
(CCD—State Nonfiscal Survey, data supplied by state administrators on the basis of information obtained by local school districts from parents; PSUS, data supplied by school administrators on the basis of information supplied by parents)
“Hispanic” Teachers who indicated that that they were of Hispanic or Latino origin Students placed in the “Hispanic” race/ethnicity category by administrators (except for those who were described by their parents as “Hispanic” and another race/ethnicity—such students were not included by NCES in the publicly available totals for any of the CCD categories)
“Black or African American” Teachers selecting only “Black or African-American” as their race* and indicating that they were not of Hispanic or Latino origin Students placed by administrators in the “black, non-Hispanic” category (except for those who were described by their parents as being of more than one race/ethnicity)
“Asian (including Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander)” Teachers selecting only “Asian" or “native Hawaiian or other Pacific islander“ as their race* and indicating that they were not of Hispanic or Latino origin Students placed by administrators in the “Asian or Pacific Islander” category (except for those who were described by their parents as being of more than one race/ethnicity)
“Native American (including Alaska Native)” Teachers selecting only “American Indian or Alaska native” as their race* and indicating that they were not of Hispanic or Latino origin Children placed by administrators in the “American Indian or Alaska Native” category (except for those who were described by their parents as being of more than one race/ethnicity)
* Approximately 1% of humanities teachers described themselves as being of more than one race.
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Note

1 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 teachers represent 32% of the K-12 teaching corps.

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