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Tuesday, October 4, 2005
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Nationally known educator to speak about men in the teaching profession

ATHENS, Ohio (Sept. 30, 2005) -- Bryan Nelson, a nationally recognized educator who has worked to increase the number of men in the teaching profession, will speak Thursday, Oct. 6, in Walter Hall, Room 135, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Nelson is the founder of a nonprofit organization called MenTeach, a national clearinghouse for research, education and advocacy whose goal is to boost the number of men teaching young children in early and elementary education. MenTeach aims to provide prospective male teachers with mentors, training and stipends. According to Nelson, men must overcome such hurdles as concerns about their salaries, a perception that teaching isn't masculine and even public fears that they pose a danger to kids.

According to a recent report by the Associated Press and the National Education Association--the country's largest teachers union--the proportion of men in teaching today is at its lowest level in 40 years. Only 21 percent of teachers in U.S. public schools are men, the report said. In early grades, the gender ratio is even more unbalanced -- just 9 percent of elementary school teachers are men.

"It's not just that it would be nice to have more guys. It goes deeper than that," said Nelson, whose efforts to improve those numbers include appearances on CNN, NBC's "Today" show and in publications such as Time, Newsweek and the New York Times.

Nelson told the Associated Press that getting more men into classrooms would help show children that society as a whole places a deep value on education and would add balance to their school life.

Nelson has provided training to Head Start groups, nonprofits and early education programs at state and national conferences. He is seen on the HeadsUp Network, a nationally televised program for Head Start programs, talking about health and safety as well as male involvement. He has received several awards, including a Bush Leadership Fellowship, which enabled him to attend Harvard University.

Nelson's lecture is sponsored by the School of Human and Consumer Sciences and the College of Health and Human Services, through a grant provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The lecture is free and open to the public. Before the lecture, male teachers and education majors are invited to attend a forum with Nelson in Grover Hall Room 123 from 4 to 6 p.m. A light supper will be provided.

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Media Contact: College of Health and Human Services Director of Communication Jody Grenert, (740) 593-1433 or grenert@ohio.edu  

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