Academy Steps Up Recruitment with Looming Nationwide Teacher Shortage

By Phillip, Amara | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, April 28, 2011 | Go to article overview

Academy Steps Up Recruitment with Looming Nationwide Teacher Shortage


Phillip, Amara, Diverse Issues in Higher Education


With a third of the country's more than 3.4 million teachers expected to retire by 2013, many states may face a dwindling pool of qualified teachers in the near future. To address this potential shortage, many education programs are stepping up their recruitment efforts--particularly in urban and underserved communities.

Beverly Young, assistant vice chancellor for teacher education and public school programs for the California State University system, says the situation in California mirrors the rest of the country.

CSU's postgraduate teacher education program has suffered, experiencing a decline in enrollment in 2010. This decline has come at a particularly critical juncture in the state's history: K-12 enrollment is expected to rise within the next decade, just as the state is struck by what Young calls a "huge, impending wave" of teacher retirements.

Schools have reported difficulties in finding qualified special education and bilingual education teachers. In California, as in the rest of the country, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find qualified math and science teachers. Young says math and science majors have a wide range of career options, and they are often tempted to forgo teaching careers in favor of more highly paid jobs.

CSU has aimed to recruit potential math and science teachers by encouraging students to do "fieldwork"--tutoring in elementary and high schools.

"What many young people find is that they really like working with students, and they see teaching as a way to use their own interest in a subject to foster and facilitate other people's interest," says Young.

To attract more African-American students, CSU implemented a recruitment program called "Super Sunday," in which university administrators visit traditionally Black churches on spring t weekends. The program, which focuses on t college preparedness, will be entering its seventh year in 2011.

Teachers nationwide have recently found themselves the target of what some are calling an assault on their very livelihoods. In an effort to balance strained state budgets, governors and legislators across the country have proposed cutting collective bargaining rights, eliminating tenure and slashing teacher benefits.

As a result, some college graduates are having second thoughts about whether to become teachers at all.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In California alone, more than 23,000 teachers received layoff notices in 2010. A controversial tax extension, meant to stem the state's spiraling debt, is expected to be on the ballot this summer. …

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