We return from the holidays refreshed and ready to take on new and emerging issues like… the teacher shortage crisis!
“The 36,000 members of the Colorado Education Assn. are glad that an in-depth look at the looming educator shortage is finally being undertaken, and that the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Higher Education have acknowledged the growing teacher shortage crisis and the need to retain existing educators,” wrote CEA president Kerrie Dallman in a December 31 editorial.
A few states to the east, Indiana State Teachers Assn. president Teresa Meredith criticized her state’s board of education. “They seem puzzled about why there’s such a teacher shortage,” she said.
As usual, these alarms are accompanied by a slew of public policy recommendations, but never by an accounting of student enrollment and teacher hiring.
According to the Colorado Department of Education’s own statistics, in the last four years the number of students increased by about 46,000 and the number of teachers increased by more than 5,000.
Indiana in 2016 had 500 more students than it had in 2015, but added 1,100 more teachers.
The day after Christmas the National Center for Education Statistics released its “first look” report for the 2015-16 school year.
Public school enrollment nationwide increased by fewer than 14,500 students over 2014-15. But there were more than 19,100 additional full-time equivalent teachers.
I’m not making that up. For every three new students, we added four new teachers.
That’s no teacher shortage, but it is the best way to create one.
Mr. Antonucci may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org