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States Seeing Fewer Enrolled in Teacher Training Programs

Teacher preparation program enrollment has steadily decreased over the past few years, and studies have shown strong decreases in California, North Carolina, New York and Texas.

"In California, enrollment is down 53 percent over the past five years. It's down sharply in New York and Texas as well," writes Eric Westervelt for NPRED. "In North Carolina, enrollment is down nearly 20 percent in three years."

According to research, the "strengthening U.S. economy and the erosion of teaching's image as a stable career" has contributed to the declining interest in teaching as a profession. Bill McDiarmid, the dean of the University of North Carolina School of Education, said the "job also has  PR problem, with teachers too often turned into scapegoats by politicians, policymakers, foundations and the media."

Though Benjamin Riley, the head of the group Deans for Impact, notes they don't know exactly why the number of aspiring teachers has dropped. "There is nothing that has been done rigorously, in a way that's empirically defensible saying, 'We know this is why the number has dropped,' " Riley says.

"The teacher employment picture is, of course, local and regional. One part of a state may have too any elementary teachers, while another may have too few. And the gaps vary by specialty, with many places facing serious shortages in areas including science, math and special education."

Riley states that his group, Deans for Impact, is about giving teachers a raise if it's tied to better training that leads to higher graduation rates and other improvements.

"If we could really take control of the profession and increase the rigor such that teachers are effective from Day 1, I think that will prove to the public at large that this is an investment worth making, and one worth increasing."

Read the full story.

By Samantha DiMauro, Education World Contributor

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