Who wants to teach
Only five percent of high school students who took the ACT in 2017 plan to major in education, according to a new ACT report.
That makes education the eighth most popular prospective major, behind health sciences (23 percent), business (10 percent), engineering (9 percent), social sciences (9 percent), science (8 percent), arts (7 percent) and undecided.
Alarmingly, interest in majoring in education correlates, negatively, with college readiness. ACT reports that 73 percent of “definitely” interested students met the English readiness benchmark, compared to 79 percent who are “potentially” interested and 81 percent who are “not all” interested.
In math and science, 41 to 42 percent of “definitely” interested students meet readiness benchmarks, compared to 52 percent of the “potentially” interested and 56 percent of the uninterested.
The top three reasons given by students “definitely” interested in teaching were: “Enjoy working with children and young people,” “Want to make a difference/Give back to the community,” and “Inspired by my teacher(s) at school.”
The most common explanation (63%) given by students not interested in teaching was that it does not pay very well, and almost three quarters (72%) of “potentially” interested students would be more interested if teachers received better pay.
Remember that future middle and high school teachers probably aren’t planning education majors: They want to study the academic subject they hope to teach, not in education. And many of those unready would-be elementary teachers will not complete a bachelor’s degree.