Teacher Shortage–Real or Faux

On August 9, The New York Times published the article “Teacher Shortages Spur a Nationwide Hiring Scramble (Credentials Optional)“. The crux of Mokoto Rich’s article is:

Across the country, districts are struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science and special education — a result of the layoffs of the recession years combined with an improving economy in which fewer people are training to be teachers.

On the same day, writing for The Seventy Four, Kevin Huffman wrote an opinion piece titled: “Teacher Shortage Cry Misses Real Crisis in Teaching Supply” in which he claims:

Since I first entered the classroom as a bilingual first-grade teacher 23 years ago, education policy has been informed in large measure by a key alarmist claim: There is a massive impending teacher shortage.The claim comes and goes, but is enjoying a renaissance in recent weeks with an oft-expressed view that we are losing teachers rapidly, hence we should do everything we can to make the profession more desirable.The sentiment is admirable and important, but the underlying claim has a major problem. It simply isn’t true.

Huffman’s argument is that the retirement stats used by anti-reformers are overstated and that the majority of teachers are happy in their positions.

Neither article backs up their claims with actual, national and state research findings over time, but Rich’s chart depicting the decline in enrollment in California teacher preparation programs and the number of credentials issued is telling, at least for California.

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