Do We Have a Teacher Shortage? Why Teachers Are Leaving Their Schools or the Profession and Why Teaching Careers Lost Their Appeal
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
This study examines the trends, size, and the multiple factors behind the teacher shortage. The teacher shortage is a matter for concern because it harms students, teachers, and the public education system as a whole. Lack of sufficient, qualified teachers and staff instability threaten students’ ability to learn and reduce teachers’ effectiveness, and high teacher turnover consumes economic resources that could be better deployed elsewhere. The teacher shortage makes it more difficult to build a solid reputation for teaching and to professionalize it, which further contribute to perpetuating the shortage.
The findings of this research show that the teacher shortage is more acute than we had estimated when we factor in the credentials of teachers currently teaching (in addition to new teachers needed and available), and when we note its uneven spread across schools serving different shares of low-income students. The results show the characteristics of those who enter, who exit, and who stay in the teaching profession, and examine the reasons behind teachers staying in teaching, quitting the profession, or not pursuing a teaching career. The analysis pays specific attention to the roles that salaries, school climate, collegiality and support from the administration, satisfaction, early career supports and professional development opportunities play in retaining and attracting high-quality teachers.
Methods and data
The analyses are descriptive in nature. We use nationally representative data from the NCES (SASS 2011-12, TFS 2012-13, and TPS 2015-16), for public (noncharter) schools and teachers in K-12 grades.