The Growing Teacher Shortage

October 3rd, 2016

fotosearch_teacher_ks124863According to the Learning Policy Institute led by Stanford University’s Linda Darling-Hammond, in the 2015-16 school year, America was short some 60,000 teachers:

  • 48 states and D.C. were in need of special education teachers;
  • 42 states and D.C. were in need of math teachers;
  • 40 states and D.C. were in need of science teachers;
  • 50% of our schools reported shortages; 90% of those servicing high-poverty neighborhoods;
  • More than 30 states were in need of teachers of English-language learners.

Moreover, LPI estimates that, if the trend continues, by 2018, the 60,000 figure will increase to 112,000, with no end in sight.

Why all of a sudden are we running out of educators?

One reason is that teachers are leaving in droves, many within their first five years of service. Indeed, the annual attrition rate is currently 8%, twice as high in other high-performing countries, such as Finland and Singapore.

And while 30% of that figure is the result of retirement, many others leave because of unsatisfactory teaching conditions and administrators, along with such policies as high-stakes testing, evaluations based  on student test scores, relaxed discipline guidelines, too little teacher input, and on and on.

Plus, enrollment in teacher-preparation programs has slipped by 35% in the last 5 years.

No wonder, right?


2 Responses to “The Growing Teacher Shortage”

  1. Jean Tracy says:

    Such helpful information, Carol! One teacher trainer told me that her young student teachers have so many papers to write and qualifications to fulfill that they’re overwhelmed. It sounds like this trend will continue into their professional teaching years. I bet it hurts their desire to teach with so many rules and restrictions. Your information is so timely.

  2. Carol Josel says:

    Plus, lessons are now so scripted that the teacher is secondary–just reading along verbatim. Even the amount of time to be spent on each piece of a lesson is indicated in the manual. This, to me, is not teaching and does little to serve those learning to become educators. It distresses me more than I can say. Would you want your child to join their ranks or would you steer her/him down a different career path?

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