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Teacher Training Programs Are Desperately Looking for Students

Colleges of education and teacher preparation programs are creating new incentives to attract students, hoping to reverse years of declining enrollment and fill classroom vacancies.

As the school year progresses, a nationwide teacher shortage has K-12 districts scrambling and job boards lengthening. The president of the National Education Association called the shortage of teachers in the classroom a “five-alarm crisis”. Some students are returning to full-time in-person learning only to find their instructors teaching via screens, often hundreds of miles away. Many teachers are overloaded with large classes and, in some cases, teach without a degree. Some districts will begin the school year with a week of four days to host the lack of staff.

The flow of new teachers through the pipeline has slowed down to dripping, in part due to years of decrease in enrollments in educational programs. Now, higher education institutions are looking for ways to reverse what has become an alarming national trend.

Between 2008 and 2019, the number of students completing traditional teacher education programs in the United States fell by more than a third, according to a 2022 report from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. The report found that the largest declines occurred in undergraduate programs in areas with the greatest need for instructors, such as bilingual education, science, math and special education. As China plans to move away from “catch-up” technology

Jacqueline King, AACTE’s research, policy and advocacy consultant and co-author of the report, said teacher shortages and declining enrollment in teaching programs are “certainly related.” Both are closely linked to the devaluation of teaching as a profession, she added, embodied by decades of stagnant wages, burdensome workloads and political demonization. “Teachers’ salaries have been absolutely flat and the gap between them and other university-educated workers has widened,” he said. “This has contributed, over a long period of time, to a decline in interest in teaching as a field, both in admissions to graduate programs and in the world of work.”

In some states, the decline in enrollment in traditional teacher programs was much stronger than the national average of 35%. A 2019 report from the left-wing think tank Center for American Progress found that from 2010 to 2018 enrollments in education programs fell by 60% in Illinois, nearly 70% in Michigan and 80% in Oklahoma.카지노사이트

Bryan Duke, acting dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma, said that although he believes the CAP report is exaggerated, institutions in his state have seen a significant drop in enrollment, acknowledging which has contributed to the current shortage of teachers. According to the Oklahoma Education Association, more than 3,500 teaching positions in the state were open as of June. In January, Oklahoma City University phased out its early childhood and elementary education programs due to low enrollment. “When people consider what they study, they have the ultimate goal in mind of what the workforce will look like and conditions in our schools have become unattractive to most young students,” Duke said. “When I started my career 32 years ago, we had 50, 60, 100 applications for each position in the schools in the metropolitan area. What we see now is that schools will publish positions and will not have only one application “.

More incentives, less barriers

To deal with the problem, the education and preparation programs of teachers in schools and universities are experiencing with a heterogeneous mixture of initiatives, often at the same time.

The programs are investing in degree roads issued for the Depofessional that already work in schools, scholarships and salaries to strengthen compensation for students and associations of improved masters with school districts and community schools to generate interest between possible teaching candidates. The University of Central Oklahoma college of education is trying all these measures and more to attract students. Duke said that by increasing the reach of non-traditional students and offering more scholarships, the state is slowly creating interest among potential teachers. However, the road to recovering pre-recession data is a long one.

“We are seeing results,” she said she. “But, and this is really sad, we need to measure our success right now, not by improving growth, but by mitigating the decline.”

State policymakers are also exploring ways to lower the barriers for students seeking to enter educational programs or qualify for a license after graduation. In May, Oklahoma eliminated a general proficiency exam for teacher candidates with a bachelor’s degree in any subject. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law in June that removes the requirement that teacher candidates pass Praxis, a pre-professional skill test that was previously required for licensing. A similar bill passed the New Jersey state legislature this summer and is awaiting the governor’s signature. Proponents of these measures argue that standardized tests such as the Praxis, which assess proficiency in a range of subjects including mathematics and English, pose unnecessarily challenging obstacles to accessing educational programs and obtaining a teaching license.

Exams can be a particularly high hurdle for black candidates. A 2019 report from the National Quality Council of the teacher found that 43 percent of color candidates approved the exam in their first attempt, compared to 58 percent of white candidates, and that 30 percent of Color candidates did not resume the exam after failing. the first time.

Mark McDermott, associate dean of Teaching Education and Student Services at the Faculty of Education of the University of Iowa, said he is looking to make the titles more accessible to students while ensuring that graduates are prepared to enter the classroom . “It is important to recognize the barriers and minimize them as much as possible. But we think teaching is really important and it’s not an easy thing to learn to do, ”she said. “We are not just preparing teachers to get licensed; we are preparing them to be detained and continue teaching for the long term ”.

King said that while exit exams may be too burdensome for candidates, some sort of licensing test should be required to ensure candidates are ready to enter the classroom. But, she added, the case of the entrance exams to gain admission to educational programs is less clear. “Since we have this shortage, why would you put an additional obstacle for students to enter the teacher preparation program?” she said.

‘Fill a leaking bucket’
Education program leaders are even more concerned about solutions being sought outside of higher education, particularly by state officials desperately trying to fill teaching vacancies. Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced plans to allow military veterans without college degrees to teach in public schools while they work toward certification. And a new Arizona law makes current college students eligible to be elementary school teachers. Christopher Koch, president and CEO of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, said whether or not these measures are indicative of a wider disrespect for teaching.

“I don’t know why we are willing to do it because of the shortage of teachers and not because of the shortage of the medical professions or other professions,” he said. “It sends the wrong message about a profession in which on the one hand we say that it is one of the most important there is and on the other we say that everything is fine”.

Henry Tran, co-author of How Did We Get Here? The Decay of the Teaching Profession (Information Age Publishing, 2022), argued that disregard for the difficulty and importance of teaching is what is truly at the heart of the current shortage, a problem beyond what they can achieve. higher education solutions. “There has been a widespread feeling of disrespect for the profession, both at the macro and micro level, which pushes people to leave the profession and is a barrier to entry,” said Tran, who is also a leadership professor. and educational policy. . at the University of South Carolina.

That feeling of disrespect has material roots. There has long been a “wage penalty” associated with teaching, compared to professions requiring similar levels of education. Adjusted for inflation, the average weekly teacher salary has increased by just $ 29 since 1996, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute; in comparison, other graduates saw an average increase of $ 445 per week over the same period. Low pay and high levels of stress have led to a resurgence of work organization and militancy among teachers, including the upcoming planned strikes in large districts such as Columbus, Ohio and Philadelphia.

Tran said he was concerned that many of the proposed higher education solutions to the teacher shortage, most notably lowering licensing thresholds, as Iowa did, are “patch solutions” that will not produce. a teacher workforce with stamina.

“Ninety percent of the demand for teacher shortages comes from turnover. So, when you have all these solutions that lower standards or aim to attract new people, my question is, what is going to keep them from leaving as the last batch? He said. “Basically, you have a bucket with losses that you are constantly trying to fill. At a certain point, you are running out the water to fill the bucket.”

King has agreed that conservation is an important cause of the lack of teachers. He said any success of teacher training programs in increasing enrollment will be insufficient unless working conditions and pay improve.

“We will not just recruit our way out of this problem,” she said. “It has to be a two-pronged approach.”