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Is the Teacher Shortage Real?

Is the “Teacher Shortage” Real?

“With almost no real data… we… conclude that we are in the throes of a full-blown national crisis.”

10 months ago Kate Walsh, President of the National Council on Teacher Quality, laid out her evidence to show there is no teacher shortage in America; it is a myth.

“But tweaking just one of the assumptions made… Viola!: The shortage disappears entirely.” (Washington Post)

There isn’t a teacher shortage in America according to Walsh, just a “huge, long-standing problem with supply and demand” of STEM teachers. Her point is as clear as mud.

A recent article published on this week takes yet another look at the so-called “teacher shortage.” I am interested to see how Walsh explains away this data.

According to US Department of Education 48 states report a shortage of Math teachers, 46 report a shortage of Special Education teachers, 43 report a shortage of Science teachers, and 41 report a shortage of Foreign language teachers.

Linda Darling-Hammond, director of the Learning Policy Institute, says “some states, like California, are seeing classes with up to 35 students.”

More-over, Darling-Hammond, believes that help is not on the way anytime soon with a 35% drop in teacher education enrollments between 2009 – 2014. The percentage of college freshman interest in teaching, earning a major in education is 4.6% (according to a survey at UCLA).

I am convinced there is a teacher shortage. Are you?

Dan Goldhaber, director of the University of Washington’s Center for Education Data and Research, says the problem is two-fold: teachers aren’t paid enough and teaching in the U.S. is too demanding.

Goldhaber continues in the article to speculate on fixes to this ever-increasing problem. However, his solutions revolve around the university model. It is time to look outside the universities to solve the teacher shortage crisis; which is real by the way.STEM Teacher, Teacher Shortage

If, according to Goldhaber the two main issues are pay and demand, a solution needs to impact those two items.

First, the solution should be cheaper, allowing teachers to keep more of their salary.

Currently USC Rossier School of Education costs over $25,000 for an individual to earn a California Teaching Credential. Other colleges offer teacher certification ranging $10,000 – $30,000. That is too expensive.

Second, the solution should be less demanding (in regards to time, not rigor). NCES survey shows that, on average, it takes a teacher 53 hours each week to accomplish all their work. The solution should not significantly add to this workload. However, busy class-work, driving to school, stringent class schedules, multi-year timelines, etc. all add to that 53 hours.

Though I do believe colleges and universities serve a great purpose, I think the “educational world” is failing to think outside the box and impact real change.

I believe iteachU.S. is addressing the two main issues Goldhaber highlights. iteachU.S. offers an online, competency-based curriculum and individuals can complete all program requirements within a year for less than $4,500.00.

There is much debate about this shortage and the solution, what are your thoughts?

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