Essay about Misinformation Abounds About A National Shortage Of Teachers

Essay about Misinformation Abounds About A National Shortage Of Teachers

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Misinformation abounds about a national shortage of teachers. In just the past few years, news outlets have published stories that lead readers to become concerned that there are not enough teachers to fill every classroom (Cowan et al., 2015). Ingersoll, Merrill, and Stuckey (2014) admitted the widely cited statistic, published in Ingersoll, 2003, claiming 40-50% of teachers leave within the first five years of teaching, was an estimate. These authors referred to the more accurate statistic by Perda (2013) that 41% of new teachers leave within five years (Ingersoll et al., 2014).
Not only are there enough teachers to fill most current vacancies, there is an excess supply of teachers for most grade levels, content-areas, school types, and geographic locations. In fact, the production of teachers has grown steadily since the mid-1980’s (Ingersoll, Merrill, and Stuckey, 2014; Cowan et al., 2015).
Ingersoll et al. (2014) went so far as to describe the increase in teachers between the late 1980s - 2008 as “the ballooning of the teaching force” (p. 2), with math and science teachers comprising 15% of this expansion. Their data showed an increase in teachers from 1988 – 2008 of 1.3 million, while 45,000 teachers left the profession between 2007 – 2012 (Ingersoll et al., 2014).
Cowan et al. (2015) presented data that affirmed Ingersoll et al.’s (2014) findings. Their analysis of the 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2011 School and Staffing Surveys revealed an increasing number of graduates from teacher preparation programs. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics showed the production of teachers between 1987 – 2011 far exceeded the number of novice teachers hired by schools (Cowan, 2015). A shortage exists when ther...

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....S. produces more teachers each year than are hired (p. 18). Yet school leaders and legislators continue to decry the lack of qualified candidates to fill hard-to-staff positions.
Carroll (2007) sums up the problem of supply-side approaches to fix the teacher shortage problem:
The conventional wisdom that we can improve teaching quality by increasing the supply of new teachers is a misreading of the fundamental problem facing our schools today. The problem is not finding enough teachers to do the job - the problem is keeping them in our schools (p. 2).
The benefits to retaining new teachers include cost savings, as expected, yet the benefit to student achievement may overshadow financial costs in importance. Policies and programs put in place to increase teacher retention may also serve to increase teachers effectiveness, further increasing returns on investment.

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