Topic: Teacher Shortages

Overview

Teacher Workforce Shortages

Every state in the SREB region is struggling to find qualified and certified candidates to teach the next generation. Emergency certifications – temporary licenses issued to people with little to no teacher training – are at an all-time high. Enrollment in college and university teacher preparation programs is down in most states. And only 5% of high school students expressed intent to pursue a career in education, ACT reported in 2017.

The tables below show the extent of the crisis in each SREB state.

Blog post Megan Boren, Program Specialist, SREB

COVID-19 Effects on the Teacher Workforce

In April, my mom called me with the news that my high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Metcalfe, who was rounding out his 42nd year of teaching, had died from COVID-19. I knew him from class, of course, but I also went to school with his son for 13 years and his family attended my grandparent’s church.

He was respected, loved and honored for his excellent teaching. His funeral was an all-day parade of cars through the high school parking lot, where community members waved and shouted condolences to his family. My mom said the cars stretched down the street for miles.

Blog post Megan Boren

A Long-Term Solution to Teacher Shortages
Finding the Root of the Problem

We’ve all heard the saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” When it comes to state policies affecting the teacher workforce, it’s important to see both.  

Teachers make life-long impressions on thousands of students — over 3,000 in an average career — and help raise every generation to understand the world and become productive, well-rounded citizens.

Resources

Teacher Preparation Program Completion
Total by State, 2012-13 and 2017-18

In the SREB region, 11,600 fewer candidates completed teacher preparation programs in 2018 than in 2013, and 15 of 16 states saw declines in completion. 

Top blue bar: 2012-13
Middle orange bar: 2016-17  
Bottom gray bar: 2017-18 (the most recent available data)

AL 2,965; 2,417; 2,391. AR 2,349; 1,908; 1,739.  DE 746; 459; 437. FL 7,021; 7,840; 5,392. GA 5,443; 3,971; 3,807 KY 3,206; 2,073; 2,407. LA 2,574; 2,365; 2,106 MD 2,774; 2,382; 2,092 MS 2,305; 1,687; 1,583. NC 5,499; 4,308; 4,222. OK 2,152; 1,398; 1,314. SC 2,447, 2,207; 2,106. TN 4,447; 2,904.; 2,803. TX 20,869; 22,574; 21,598. VA 3,954; 3,372; 3,208.  WV 1,182; 895; 994.

Includes teacher candidates who completed traditional teacher preparation programs and university-based and private alternative teacher preparation programs.

Resources

Teacher Characteristics by State
2015-16

Percentage of each state’s teachers with one or two years experience, with emergency or provisional certificate, who plan to leave the profession, and who are teachers of color.

  Inexperienced  Uncertified  Plan to Leave the
Profession
Teachers
of Color
AL 12.0% 1.4%   4.6% 16%
AR 13.8% 4.0%   6.0% 15%
DE 12.3% 2.1%   5.8%   8%
FL 14.1% 4.7% 10.4% 35%
GA   9.5% 3.1%   8.0% 25%
KY 10.0% 0.8%   3.6%   3%
LA 12.9% 8.1%   6.0% 35%
MD 15.7% 3.4% 10.1% 29%
MS 13.2% 3.2%   7.1% 30%
NC   8.4% 2.7% 10.0% 17%
OK 12.2% 0.9%   6.7% 17%
SC 11.4% 1.5%   8.6% 18%
TN 19.2% 4.1%   8.7% 15%
TX 15.4% 2.9%   9.6% 40%
VA 12.4% 3.2% 11.0% 15%
WV 11.2% 3.4%   9.4%   2%
national average 12.7% 2.6%   9.4% 20%

Inexperienced: Defined as teachers with one or two years of experience.

Uncertified: Defined as those teachers practicing under an emergency or provisional certificate.

Plan to leave the profession: Defined as teachers planning to leave teaching as soon as possible or as soon as a more desirable job opportunity arises.

Teachers of color: Defined as all teachers except those who identify as non-Hispanic white.

Sources: Learning Policy Institute (2018). Understanding Teacher Shortages: 2018 Update. Primary data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Civil Rights Data Collection, Public-Use Data File 2015-16. Planning to leave the profession primary data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Public School Teacher File 2016, National Teacher and Principal Survey.