Teachers are in demand across the country. Federal data shows that every state is dealing with shortages of teachers in key subject areas. In 2016, the Learning Policy Institute, a national nonprofit, reported that teacher education enrollment dropped from 691,000 to 451,000, a 35 percent reduction, between 2009 and 2014, the latest year for which there is data. And there are high levels of attrition, with nearly 8 percent of the teaching workforce leaving every year, the majority before retirement age.
The National Center for Education Statistics reports that in a recent longitudinal study of a nationally representative cohort, teacher turnover, as measured annually by the combined percentage of “movers” and “leavers,” after five years was 46 percent.
Recent national analyses suggest the shortages arise from teacher recruitment and retention. According to recent data from Alternative Certification for Teachers (ACT) and the Department of Education, fewer high school graduates are interested in pursuing education majors and fewer college students are pursuing teaching careers.
The Learning Policy Institute report found five key factors that influence whether a teacher decides to enter, remain in or leave the profession:
This shortage is compounded when it comes to teachers of color. The National Education Association reports a scarcity of African American and Latino teachers in the classroom. A study done in April from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics states that students are less likely to drop out of school if they have at least one teacher who looks like them (Source: U.S. News and World Report).
The Elsie Marrow Legacy Foundation addresses this national crisis by: