“We are experiencing what appears to be the first major shortage since the 1990s,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford professor who runs the institute.
“At a time when public school enrollment is on the upswing, large numbers of teachers are headed for retirement or leaving the profession because of dissatisfaction with working conditions,” reports U.S. News. “Meanwhile, enrollment in teacher preparation programs is dropping dramatically, falling 35 percent nationwide in the last five years.”
Over the last 30 years, programs have graduated between 175,000 and 300,000 teachers each year, yet consistently school districts have only hired somewhere between 60,000 to 140,000, with about 95,000 being the most recent number.
. . . by tweaking just one of the assumptions made by LPI, the results are altogether different. For example, if we project that the class size average of student to teacher is 16.1 to 1 (which, importantly, it is currently) rather than LPI’s estimate of 15.3 to 1, voila! The shortage disappears entirely.
Walsh also cites Dan Goldhaber’s critique of the report. LPI incorrectly assumes all new teachers are new college graduates, he writes. In fact, most newly hired teachers aren’t new graduates, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Some delayed entering the profession and others taught, took time off (usually to raise kids) and are returning.
Claims of a teacher shortage crisis are deja vu all over again, writes Mike Antonucci.
The real teacher shortage isn’t new, writes Walsh.
For 30 years nearly every district in the nation has struggled to find enough secondary science and math teachers. Also and for just as long, rural and urban districts have been unable to tap into a reliable and stable source of new teachers, putting band aids like Teach For America on the problem.
Most school districts have way too many applicants for elementary teaching positions, she writes, “because teacher prep programs don’t see it as their job to tell their incoming candidates that they can’t all major in elementary ed, that they’ll need to consider another teaching field like special ed or ELL where there is real need.”
Under union pressure, school districts refuse to pay more for teachers with high-demand skills.