District Administration - March 2011 - (Page 74)
supervisor’s opinion • eamonn o’Donovan
Teacher attrition due to layoffs may break the teacher supply line nationwide.
On April 6, 2010, JAck O’cOnnell held a press conference to announce that california faced a teacher shortage. The state’s superintendent of public instruction cited anticipated retirements over the next ten years, teacher attrition through layoffs, and a break in the supply line from teacher preparation universities as major factors in creating a critical shortage of teachers in the state. After a lull in the past five years, student enrollment in california is predicted to grow, creating a mismatch between supply and demand for teachers. However, most of the attention in california was drawn not to a potential shortage of teachers, but rather to threats to school funding and potential layoffs of teachers due to the state’s budget crisis. During a specific moment of crisis, a politicization of teacher shortages, current or projected (some would say imagined), can cause one to overlook what might be a real issue. certainly, this was the case the last time teacher shortages were predicted. in the previous two decades, school districts were able to address increased enrollment and predictions of teacher shortages by tapping into an increased supply of new teachers from universities. While there were genuine shortages of teachers in some places, they tended to exist in certain rural and urban situations. And of course, the supply of good math, science and special education teachers has been tight for a while. steady Teacher Attrition But let’s go back and look at the claims made by california’s schools chief to see if there really might be a teacher shortage on the horizon in this bellwether state. events in california are often a harbinger for things to come elsewhere. O’connell cited a report from the
74 March 2011
is There a Teacher shortage on the Horizon?
ed with statutorily required layoff notices in the spring of 2010 in california did not get their jobs back by the first day of the new school year. Others have left the profession because of dissatisfaction with teaching in general, reduced compensation due to salary reductions or furlough days, or a decrease in monetary support for supplies and textbooks. nonprofit center for the Future of Teaching and learning (cFTl). As california struggles to provide a robust student and teacher data collection and reporting system, groups like the cFTl provide data that point to trends in the state. The cFTl teamed with the california State University and University of california to prepare a report, california’s Teaching Force 2010: key issues and Trends. The report cites some facts that point to a looming teacher shortage: • In 2009-2010, 32 percent of the workforce was over fifty years of age, placing about a third of teachers on track for retirement in the next ten years. • The number of new teachers hired has dropped 50 percent in the past two years. • The number of enrollees in teacher preparation colleges dropped from 75,000 to 45,000 from 2001-2002 to 2007-2008. • The number of teaching credentials issued declined by 35 percent since 2004. in addition, the report notes that whereas student enrollment had decreased in recent years, it is projected to grow by more than 230,000 by 2018-2019. What is not emphasized, but should be highlighted here, is that there has been a steady attrition of teachers in the state. Many teachers have left the profession after being laid off during the fiscal crisis—26,000 as of April 2010. it’s estimated that 40 percent of teachers providAttrition rates across the nation in the past, it is teacher attrition that has pushed a teacher shortage from theoretical to real, as new teachers from the supply pipeline have always been sufficient to replace retiring teachers. School districts could also draw from a reserve pool of teachers to plug gaps. This reserve pool traditionally has consisted of teachers who have left the profession, to raise families in some cases, or who obtained teaching credentials but did not seek positions right away. it is estimated that roughly 50 percent of newly qualified teachers do not enter the profession upon graduation. This reserve pool has been depleted, not augmented, by layoffs as, it is argued, teachers give up on the profession as a result of the harrowing nature of layoffs and a sense of abandonment by the education establishment. The report concludes that this is a tough time for california’s teachers, characterized by increased demands for improvements to achievement for all students (a reasonable demand, of course) and reduced resources and instability caused by the fiscal crisis that grips the state. it is no wonder that teaching is a less than attractive profession for new college graduates. The national center for educational Statistics, a federal body that reports to congress, showed the Digest of educational Statistics for 2010 that the total number of k12 teachers nationwide
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - March 2011
District Administration - March 2011
From the Editor
Learning Gets Personal
What’s Your Data Integration Strategy?
Global Learning Scales Up
New Approach to Reeling in Tech Funding
Facilities of Environmental Distinction
District Administration - March 2011