Enrollment in Teacher Preparation Programs Falls Precipitously

An article in Education Week, (December 3, 2019) written by Madeline Will, states that a new report from the Center for American Progress, shows enrollment in teacher-preparation programs has dropped by a third from 2010 to 2018. Some states are seeing steep declines of more than 50 percent. And the number of black and Hispanic teacher-candidates enrolled in teacher preparation dropped by a quarter over that eight-year time period. Nationally, there has been a 26.46% drop in African American enrollment in teacher preparation programs (2010-2018).

A national poll from the Center for American Progress found that 55 percent of teachers wouldn’t want their children to follow in their footsteps, and half say they’re so unhappy with their jobs that they have seriously considered leaving the profession. The same report found that there was a 28 percent decline in students completing teacher-preparation programs during this eight-year time period.

Special education programs saw a 14 percent decline, programs that prepared candidates to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics saw a 22 percent decline, and elementary education programs saw a 29 percent decline.

Only five states saw a growth in students enrolling in teacher preparation programs from 2010 to 2018: Utah, Arizona, Washington, Texas, and Nevada. Nine states—Oklahoma, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Illinois, Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico, and Rhode Island—have seen enrollment decline by 50 percent or more from 2010 to 2018. In the most severe example, Oklahoma’s teacher-preparation programs saw an 80 percent drop.  Oklahoma had the steepest enrollment declines—a 91 percent decrease for men, and a 79 percent decrease for women. Oklahoma has struggled to recruit and retain teachers. Neighboring states like Texas have lured teachers over the border with significantly higher salaries. More than 2,000 emergency certified teachers were hired in Oklahoma this year—meaning they have a bachelor’s degree, but no background or course work in the content area they’re teaching.

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