How do we keep our teachers in the classroom?
The Los Angeles Unified School District’s teacher strike has come to a close, the most recent of what has been a regular occurrence throughout 2018 and into 2019. From West Virginia to California, teachers have walked out of classrooms to demand improved wages, smaller class sizes, and less standardized testing, among other needs.
These legitimate problems contribute to another larger one that could paralyze education: our nationwide teacher shortage. As we move forward, we need to explore not only how we keep teachers in the classroom, but how we get more teachers in the door to begin with.
The teacher shortage crisis is two-fold, one of recruitment and one of retention. The Learning Policy Institute reported back in 2016 that the attrition rate of teachers is around 8 percent in the United States, double the rates of other well-educated countries around the world. It’s even higher for new teachers and those teaching in high-poverty schools. In addition, the report found that between 2009 and 2014, enrollment in teacher education programs decreased by 35 percent.