Where Have All the Teachers Gone
Posted by National Public Radio on May 18, 2015
New teachers decline
New-teacher numbers are way down in states producing many of the nation’s teachers, reports Eric Westervelt for NPR. In California, teacher-training enrollment fell 53 percent in the last five years, with similar declines in New York state and Texas. In North Carolina, enrollment fell 20 percent in three years. This may reflect a strengthening U.S. economy, or the sense that teaching’s no longer a stable career. Potential teachers know they’ll have less control professionally and will work in a politicized environment whose flashpoints include ideological fights over the Common Core, high-stakes testing, and linkage of student test results to teacher evaluations. Also, tenure protections have eroded, and recession-induced budget cuts have eliminated classroom and school resources. “There’s a sense now that if I went into this job, which doesn’t pay a lot and is hard work, it may be I’d lose it,” says Bill McDermott of the School of Education at University of North Carolina. The nation may also be over-producing the teachers districts don’t want, and under-producing teachers they do. Shortages vary by specialty, but the highest vacancies are in science, math, and special education. One solution would be more pay for in-demand specialties, but efforts in this direction across the country have stalled or been scrapped.
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