Monday, August 29, 2005

Teachers, Teaching Shortages

Today's Deseret News has an interesting commentary from John Florez about Utah's teaching shortages.

The "Utah Educator Supply and Demand Study," commissioned by the Utah State
Office of Education (USOE) and the State Board of Regents, was to determine what
to do about meeting the demand for more teachers needed to educate the 49
percent student growth over the next 20 years.

OK, now with some stats from Florez's article:

40 percent of those who graduate from Utah teacher colleges never enter the
profession and that another 40 percent leave the profession after five years.
What is clear is that the state doesn't have a supply problem. It has a
hemorrhaging problem.

Many don't want to enter the profession, and those who do want to leave it as soon as they can. Talk about a waste of tax dollars.

Besides, the study also found that one-half of the teachers trained come from a privately funded institution, Brigham Young University. So the question becomes, why should the Legislature spend more tax dollars in public higher education to train teachers when 40 percent never teach and those remaining are leaving at a rapid rate. Of the current number of teachers leaving this year (approximately 2,777), 24 percent are leaving to retire, which raises a critical question: Why is the other 76 percent leaving? I suspect teachers on exit interviews give courtesy answers similar to what politicians say when they leave — to spend more time with their family.

The truth is that many are leaving because of the oppressive and stressful working conditions now prevalent in today's schools. The state says, because of budget cuts, districts are increasing class sizes to use the same number of teachers

I want to be a teacher someday. However, it's hard to justify shelling out major bucks to go to school, just to make 23K the first year, and take all that abuse.

Many states have programs where the state will put you through school for free if you then agree to teach in thier school system for 5 years. I think a similar program might help, but extend it to 6-7 years.


No comments: