Dear Commons Community,
As districts around the country get ready for the new school year, the New York Times has a featured article today reporting on teacher shortages that are occurring across the country. The main reasons for the shortages are the retirements of many current teachers as well as decreased enrollments in teacher education programs. As reported in the article:
“In a stark about-face from just a few years ago, school districts have gone from handing out pink slips to scrambling to hire teachers.
Across the country, districts are struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science and special education — a result of the layoffs of the recession years combined with an improving economy in which fewer people are training to be teachers.
At the same time, a growing number of English-language learners are entering public schools, yet it is increasingly difficult to find bilingual teachers. So schools are looking for applicants everywhere they can — whether out of state or out of country — and wooing candidates earlier and quicker.
Some are even asking prospective teachers to train on the job, hiring novices still studying for their teaching credentials, with little, if any, classroom experience.
Louisville, Ky.; Nashville; Oklahoma City; and Providence, R.I., are among the large urban school districts having trouble finding teachers, according to the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents large urban districts. Just one month before the opening of classes, Charlotte, N.C., was desperately trying to fill 200 vacancies…
In California, the number of people entering teacher preparation programs dropped by more than 55 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Nationally, the drop was 30 percent from 2010 to 2014, according to federal data. Alternative programs like Teach for America, which will place about 4,000 teachers in schools across the country this fall, have also experienced recruitment problems.”
Anyone following education policy and teacher demographics could see this shortage coming. Many states will now enact incentive programs to recruit candidates into the teaching profession.