In a column from Saturday’s USA Today, Richard Whitmire writes:
The awkward fact is that teaching in America has become a quasi blue-collar profession mostly shunned by top college graduates.
Whitmire is absolutely correct that teaching is not the highest class of profession, but I don’t really characterize it as blue-collar. I have always considered teaching to be the quintessential middle-class occupation. “Top” college graduates aspire to upper-middle-class occupations, so that’s why they aren’t interested in teaching.
Some of the factors contributing to teaching being merely middle class and not upper-middle class are as follows:
1. You need a vocational degree to teach (except in private schools, so private school teaching is higher class)
2. Union membership (elite liberals support unions, but union jobs are for the proles)
3. Increasing use of scientific methods for evaluating teachers and decreasing control over their lesson plans lowers the prestige of the profession, because that type of micromanagement is for low-level employees and not for elite professions.
There is also the fact that there are 3.8 million primary and secondary school teachers. There are just too many teachers for the profession to ever be upper-middle class. It’s too common of an occupation.