There is an emerging teacher shortage; I’m not surprised by that at all. When I resigned from the profession I loved, when I made a plea for my incredible colleagues and disheartened students, I knew that this would happen if the reform movement didn’t change directions quickly. Teachers cannot and will not function under this supposed “educational reform.” The students who should be applying to college as education majors have lived the consequences of this deeply flawed system. Why would they want to get involved with a profession that is disrespected so thoroughly? Why would they sign up to be scapegoats and test proctors? Teaching is a calling, not a job. Those of us who feel that way become teachers because we want to improve our students’ lives. Until the profession allows teachers to do that again, I doubt this shortage will be resolved.
Motoko Rich of The New York Times wrote a feature article for today’s print edition on the looming teacher shortage, and that nationwide scramble to fill available teaching positions. Predictions of a future teacher shortage are hardly new. Consider this Senate hearing where the then frequently made prediction that we would need “2 million new teachers over the next 10 years” was repeated by Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts:
This chart is a good summation as to what the current conditions are. This year, K-12 enrollment reached an all-time high and will continue to rise over the next 7 years. 6,000 new public schools will be needed by the year 2006 just to maintain current class sizes. We will also need to hire 2 million teachers over the next decade to accommodate rising student enrollments and massive teacher requirements. And because of the overcrowding, schools are using trailers for classrooms…
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