"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Do We Need More Teachers?

In a previous post on this blog, "Why Teachers Quit", it is mentioned that research done by the Learning Policy Institute shows that a shortage of about 112,000 teachers is projected in the US by 2018. A report from the American Institutes for Research in Seattle, however, points out that teacher shortages in public schools in the US need to be qualified especially after considering that only half of those who graduate from teaching schools are hired as public school teachers.

Above copied from the Learning Policy Institute
The report, published in the journal Educational Researcher , highlights in its abstract that there are indeed shortages, but these shortages are in specific areas and communities:

These findings are, of course, supported by evidence. Shortages are indeed generally found in science and mathematics (STEM), and special education (SPED), as displayed in the following figure (This has always been the case for the past decades):

Above figure copied from
Calder Teacher Shortage Explainer, Figure 3 (2016)

STEM and SPED vacancies are much more difficult to fill. The other point, that shortages are specific to communities, is likewise clearly seen in the following figure:

Above figure copied from
Calder Teacher Shortage Explainer, Figure 5 (2016)
Here, high URM schools are those schools that serve a larger number of underepresented minorities (American Indian, Black, or Hispanic). There is a teacher shortage. Unfortunately, this shortage is in fact much more problematic, because it will lead to even greater inequity in schools.

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