Where Indeed

In this blog post by Valerie Strauss she asks, “Where have all the teachers gone?”

“While teacher shortages are not new, they are getting worse in many parts of the country. A report by the nonprofit Learning Policy Institute found that teacher education enrollment dropped from 691,000 to 451,000, a 35 percent reduction, between 2009 and 2014 — and nearly 8 percent of the teaching workforce is leaving every year, the majority before retirement age.”

Ms. Strauss quotes Linda Darling-Hammond, “Across the country, districts and schools continue to struggle to meet the growing demand for qualified teachers. Since 2012, when Recession-era layoffs ended, the teacher workforce has grown by about 400,000, as districts have sought to reclaim the positions they had previously cut and replace teachers who have left. But even with intensive recruiting both in and outside of the country, more than 100,000 classrooms are being staffed this year by instructors who are unqualified for their jobs. These classrooms are disproportionately in low-income, high-minority schools, although in some key subjects, every kind of district has been hit. This is a serious problem for the children they serve and for the country as a whole.

“”. . . Current data on the 2017-18 school year confirm that most states are still experiencing difficulty hiring qualified teachers in multiple fields. The U. S. Department of Education reports that a majority of states identify shortages of teachers in mathematics (47 states and the District of Columbia), special education (46 states and D.C.), science (43 states), world languages (40 states and D.C.), career and technical education (32 states), teachers of English learners (32 states), art, music, and dance (28 states), and English (27 states).”

Business Insider reports, “Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce found in their recent report, “The Economic Value of College Majors,” that education majors are paid the least . . .”

How can we expect to hire and retain excellent teachers when they are the lowest paid professionals in the country, when they are denigrated throughout society, when they are told how to do their job by individuals who have never done their job, and who are reprimanded when they try to do an excellent job?

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