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Time on the Job and Time with Their Kids: Cultures of Teaching and Parenthood in the US

By Robert Drago

Abstract

This study uses time diary and telephone survey data from a nonrandom sample of 310 US public, elementary school teachers in 46 schools and four school districts to analyze the sources of time for employed parents to devote to their children in the US. Comparing parent and nonparent teachers for a 24-hour working day reveals that American parents spend significantly less time on work, personal time, passive leisure, and exercise, and significantly more time on child care and housework. Even so, the parent workday is far longer than the employment contract stipulates. Mild evidence suggests that supportive supervisors, shorter contractual hours, and low levels of student poverty are linked to increased parental time for children among the teachers. Evidence is found for a time transfer of work from parents to nonparents in schools with higher proportions of women teachers. Less direct evidence suggests this time transfer is voluntary.

DOI identifier: 10.1080/13545700152726859
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