"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, June 10, 2006

NCLB and the Teacher Shortage Train Wreck

Just as the law's title, No Child Left Behind, represents a pure case of doublespeak, so, too, does that part of the Law that promises a highly-qualified teacher in every classroom. The longer this law stays on the books, in fact, the bigger that lie becomes and the more likely schools will accept new definitions of highly-qualified that translate into less qualified teachers. See the vultures at ABCTE waiting in the wings.

As teacher autonomy and the joy of seeing students learn are quickly disappearing in this late age of the testing hysteria, many of our best veteran teachers are retiring as soon as they can. Many of the best younger ones, likewise, are finding other careers, rather than becoming complicit in the "cognitive decapitation" of children that results from today's scripted curriculums and direct instruction teaching. From the CSBA (tip from PEN):

That glimmer at the end of California’s once-celebrated “teacher pipeline” isn’t daylight, it’s an oncoming train, freighted with accidents waiting to happen:

  • One hundred thousand new teachers will be needed over the next 10 years as baby boomers retire and younger teachers leave the ranks for other pursuits; a shortage of 27,000 fully credentialed K-12 teachers is projected in 2007-08.

  • The “highly qualified teacher” requirement of the No Child Left Behind Act takes effect June 1. Ten thousand teachers in California schools didn’t qualify at the start of the 2005-06 school year.

  • The number of undergraduates enrolled in teacher credentialing programs dropped 11 percent in two years, from 76,000 in 2001-02 to just 67,500 in 2003-04.

The pileup will culminate in the mid-2010s, when school districts’ scramble for teachers will be the most desperate. K-12 enrollment is projected to climb from 6.3 million today to nearly 6.5 million in 2013-14; approximately 317,000 teachers will be needed to instruct them, compared to the 306,000 working today, according to the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, or CFTL.

“This is not an urban problem. In fact, it’s an issue that every district in the state is likely to face,” said CFTL Executive Director Margaret Gaston.

It’s also a national trend. The National Center for Education Information says 40 percent of America’s public school teachers plan to leave the profession in the next five years. That’s the highest rate since at least 1990. Retirement is the main reason, with 42 percent of the nation’s teacher corps reaching age 50 or older last year. By 2015, the National Center for Education Statistics estimates that 2.4 million new teachers will be needed throughout the country.

“The numbers are stark,” said Chris Reising, Director of the Teacher Recruitment and Support Center at the San Diego County Office of Education. “It’s just stunning.”

The number of candidates who took the California Basic Educational Skills Test, the initial threshold to the teaching profession here, has fallen precipitously – from more than 129,000 at its peak in 2001-02 to fewer than 78,000 in 2004-05, according to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

“Now, you do the math,” Reising said. “CBEST is the initial indicator. It’s the very front of the pipeline.”

The rest, here.

1 comment:

  1. Don't worry about a lack of teachers in the classroom. The other districts just need to follow NYC's method of getting teachers into the classroom. Certification? you don't need it if you follow an alternative teaching path.

    1. Teach For America

    2. Teaching Fellows

    3. Recruit out of the country teachers

    Granted, they eventually must pass certification tests but not for 2-5 years. By then many of them have become depressed and leave the teaching profession only to be replaced with another group.

    The bottom line, there always a warm body in front of the class but don't look for improvement in test scores.