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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

National teacher shortage is a myth, not a crisis

Teachers are stressed, exhausted and frustrated. But there has been "no mass exodus" of teachers, writes Kevin Mahnken on The 74. "Teacher turnover rates are actually about the same as they were before the pandemic," according to a working paper by Brown's Annenberg Institute.

There is no national teacher shortage, writes Derek Thompson in The Atlantic. Some high-poverty districts and rural areas have trouble hiring teachers, but that's not new. Special-ed teachers are in short supply, as always.


One reading of the "murky data" suggests there's a "teacher surplus . . . because so many parents have pulled their children out of public schools since the pandemic began." Enrollments are declining in many public school districts, while schools are using federal relief funds to add new positions.


“I think we’ve actually gained classroom teachers in the last year, because of new hiring after the federal stimulus bills,” said Chad Aldeman, who writes on education finance at Edunomics Lab. Yet enrollments are falling in district schools. "It's super weird to be having a national conversation around teacher shortages while schools are adding teachers and losing students,” Aldeman tweeted.


When new positions go unfilled, they’re counted as vacancies, notes Thompson.


Fewer people are earning education degrees, a trend that started about 10 years ago.


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8 Comments


Guest
Aug 31, 2022

Here in Prince George's County public schools, maryland, we don't even have applicants for most of the open positions that we continue to have from the previous year.


The state of Maryland board of education is absolutely gobsmacked as to why we don't have all of our positions filled, even from last year and now again this year, when the Maryland state board has all of these excess teachers still under certification and of pre-retirement age on the state rolls.


So where are they? Why haven't they applied for a job? Why do we still have a bunch of vacancies in every single School in our system with all of these excess teachers that are literally right on the list?


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Guest
Sep 01, 2022
Replying to

I applied for teaching jobs (physics and math) all over the place when there was also a "teacher shortage". Why aren't they calling me now? Purged my info? Smart, huh.

I'd occasionally be called for an interview when I was teaching 400 miles away with less than 24 hours notice. I would ask for a day just to travel and be told they're only interviewing for one day. Click. Brilliant strategy in light of a shortage.


I was once contacted for a coaching position even though I don't follow sports. Nothing about physics or math.

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Guest
Aug 31, 2022

Claiming there's a nationwide teacher shortage is like incels claiming there's a woman shortage.


Ed schools are money-makers for colleges (my school charged me 8 credit hours for my student-teaching...for what?), so they want that pipeline filled and re-filled.

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Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
Aug 31, 2022
Replying to

There's an excess of ed schools, especially since Secretary Duncan started his campaign to make teaching less attractive as a career about ten years ago, especially in urban classrooms where teachers can no longer suspend youth for defiance, and in the rural districts families are choosing to leave because of the economic incompetence of the many Republican governors the Donald trumped in 2016, a victory that has endangered the Grand Old Party into becoming a new fascist cult of personality.

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pas28
Aug 30, 2022

I have to wonder how much of the shortage is actually uneven distribution of teachers. A lot of the statistics look at overall teaching positions, but I'd rather see the data broken down by urban/ suburban/ rural. The small urban district I work in has struggled with math and science positions compared to 10+ years ago, where it fielded full departments of veterans teachers. On the other hand, two local suburban districts I know of have experienced no difficulty filling their staff, even as they've expanded it to meet increased student population.

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phillipmarlowe
Aug 30, 2022

I would suggest the authors come to Prince George's County Public Schools and Maryland, and write the same article.

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phillipmarlowe
Sep 02, 2022
Replying to

A need for 700 teachers.

an average of 2-3 teacher short in each school. see the most recent comment above. and http://wjla.com/news/local/prince-georges-county-schools-teacher-shortage-new-teachers-orientation-upper-marlboro-pgcps-students-back-to-school-first-day-of-school-august-29

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