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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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