What is even more troubling is that nationwide, teacher education enrollment dropped 35% between 2009 and 2014, according to the most recent data from the Learning Policy Institute. The future may look grim, but Goldhaber cites some solutions:
• Help students be more strategic about their teaching opportunities. When students enter teaching certification programs, let them know where the jobs are. In many parts of the country, they’ll have an easier time finding jobs to teach math or science than English.
• Partner school districts with local college and university programs. Though the teacher shortage is rooted partly in subject areas, it’s also a matter of location. Schools in low-income areas struggle more to fill positions. “It is the kids that are oftentimes most at risk that are the ones who are likely to suffer the most,” Goldhaber said.
One way to fix that would be to pull in students from local higher-ed programs to help teach in those areas. Many may stick around for a full-time job after graduation.
Reaching out to private-sector employers to find people with expertise in certain fields who may be interested in teaching, is another suggestion.
• Make teacher certification national instead of state by state. Prospective teachers must pass an exam specific to the state they want to work in. But if a teacher wants to move from, say, Pennsylvania to California, they can’t immediately apply for jobs there. By having a national certification exam, teachers would have more mobility to go where they’re needed.
Read the full CNN Story on teacher shortage data trends HERE