Determining the Influences of Traditional Texas Teachers vs. Teachers in the Emergency Teaching Certification Program

By Justice, Madeline; Greiner, Connie et al. | Education, Winter 2003 | Go to article overview

Determining the Influences of Traditional Texas Teachers vs. Teachers in the Emergency Teaching Certification Program


Justice, Madeline, Greiner, Connie, Anderson, Spencer, Education


Introduction

By 2006 America will educate almost three million more children than in 2000-2001, more than 54 million K-12 students throughout the U. S. (U. S. Department of Education, 1998). The elementary school-aged population is expected to grow 12% between 1990 and 2005, while the high school-aged population is projected to grow by 28%. Growth in the south and west regions of the U.S. is particularly acute due to increased births and migration. This anticipated surge in K-12 student enrollment will create a greater demand for qualified teachers. Research by Gawron, Harris, Kettler, & Wale (1998) indicates that by 2007 student enrollment will reach an all time high. Furthermore, their research provides evidence that the teaching profession loses more than 30% of first year teachers within their first two years of teaching, thereby increasing state-supported costs of recruitment and teacher preparation. According to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (2000), academic achievement is negatively impacted when students do not receive the benefits of teacher experience.

A study by Steffy, Wolfe, Pasch, and Enz (2000) provides evidence that there are serious academic consequences of not providing novice teachers with the support needed to help them become experienced teachers. If we are serious about student achievement we must also be serious about developing a tangible networking system that encourages the retention of our teachers. Research by Fuller (2002) indicates that the total demand for Texas teachers has increased each year from 1996 to 2002. On average, the total demand for teachers has been nearly 32,000 per year, but was almost 38,000 in 2002. Teacher attrition is the single largest factor contributing to the demand for new teachers each year. Indeed, approximately 75 percent of the demand for new teachers is caused by teacher attrition.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a significant difference in the attrition rate of students who went through the traditional teacher education program at Texas A & M University--Commerce vs. those who went through the Emergency Certification Program, starting in 1995. Specifically, the study attempted to determine:

1. Factors that attribute to the successful teacher's career

2. How well the teacher was prepared for the first year of teaching

3. The significant circumstances that caused the individual to terminate his/her teaching career

4. Preparation and support systems influencing teachers to stay Previous Research

In a study initiated by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and conducted by Louis Harris & Associates, Inc. (1995), it was determined that new teachers who began teaching in the fall of 1990 were considerably less optimistic about their career in teaching. Almost one-fifth of new teachers completing their second year of teaching say it is "very" (6%) or "fairly" (13%) likely that they will leave the teaching profession and go into some different occupation within the next five years. This sign of extreme discouragement with the teaching profession is particularly common among new teachers teaching high school (27%) in inner city or urban settings (24%), and in schools having large numbers of minority (23%) and lower income students (21%). The reason most often cited as a major factor for leaving teaching is lack of support or help for students from the parents. Fully 40% of teachers who intend to leave the profession name this reason as a major factor in their decision. Almost three in ten teachers cite financial reasons--needing or wanting to earn more money (29%)--and lack of support from school administration (29%) as major factors in their thinking about giving up teaching. Nearly as many say a major factor in their plans is that all the social problems faced by students make teaching too difficult (25%).

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