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Nationwide Educator Population is Still Low

As schools place increased demands on their staff, more districts are dealing with the realities of a shortage of educators to fill their hallways.

“Over the summer, major news outlets reported that the nation is facing dire teacher shortages,” according to The Atlantic

Pundits speculated that middling salaries and low prestige of teachers, among other factors, were pushing smart young people to other professions.”

The shortage of educators has been a hot topic as of late. According to the report, the number of education majors dropped from 179,000 in 2011-2012 to 164,000—just one year later.

“While the country’s teaching force is certainly dealing with a staffing problem, a closer look at the numbers shows that shortages are centered in particular subject areas and geographic areas,” according to the report.

“In fact, there may be too many certified teachers in some fields, such as early-childhood education. Since 2001, the number of public-school teachers in the United States has consistently hovered at 3 million or so; according to Education Week, the tally is 3.12 million this year. The number has kept pace with the growth in K-12 enrollment, so the teacher-student ratio has remained constant, even slightly decreasing, over the last few decades.”

The current student-to-teacher ratio has remained stagnant since 2010. There is a clear divide between states trying to fill their classrooms with highly qualified educators and other states that are struggling keep the ranks filled by any graduate with a desire to teach, period. It’s only going to get more challenging for district officials in states that aren’t being proactive in seeking teachers. One wonders if students should be introduced to the teaching profession earlier or whether higher salaries can help boost education schools' enrollment numbers.

Read the full story. Comment below if your district has an innovative solution to attract teachers or if your school has an active Future Teachers of America group.

 

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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