Thursday, August 20, 2015

The dearth of teachers is no longer confined to red states.

Courtesy of NPR:  

There are serious shortages of teachers from California to Oklahoma and Kentucky and places in between. 

A big factor: Far fewer college students are enrolling in teacher training programs, as we reported this spring, exacerbating a long-standing shortage of special education, science and English-language-learner instructors. In California, enrollment in teaching programs is down more than 50 percent over the past five years. Enrollment is down sharply in Texas, North Carolina, New York and elsewhere. 

Add to the mix stagnant pay, attrition, retirements, an improving economy as well as politicized fights over tenure and just about every other education issue and you've got the makings of a genuine problem — in some regions. 

"All of those things together are creating a serious challenge for us," Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint tells NPR Ed. "The teacher shortage we're facing in Oakland is significantly more dire than in previous years. We just don't have as many teachers in the pipeline." 

Heading into the new school year Aug. 24th, Oakland has some 50 classroom vacancies. "The biggest challenge this year has come from the nationwide teacher shortage impacting all education employers, especially California public schools," Superintendent Antwan Wilson wrote this week in an email to staff and parents. 

California has more than 21 thousand teaching positions to fill. Districts laid off or eliminated some 80,000 teaching jobs between 2008 and 2012 during the Great Recession. And as the economy rebounds more young people have more options. 

The shortage areas tend to be worse in districts with budget woes, a concentration of high-poverty areas and systems that are experiencing strong population growth.

For decades the conservatives have wanted to destroy public education in this country, and now it looks as if they are finally succeeding. 

The problem is that the lack of teachers does not only impact public schools, but also the private schools and charter schools that the conservatives want to replace them with.

And the part that is so upsetting is that this was an easily predictable outcome that in their zeal to vilify educators the conservatives simply did not want to see. 

I weep for our future.


  1. Anonymous6:34 AM

    I'll bet lil' scotty walker wishes he'd a thought of coming up with something like this:

    1. Next they'll be locking the staff bathrooms.

  2. Anonymous6:37 AM

    Wtf does this have to do with the Palins?

    1. Anonymous7:18 AM

      Did he mention them?

    2. Leland7:22 AM

      WTF do the palins have to do with ANYTHING? I will be so damned glad when the day comes and someone asks about that family and everyone says, "Who?"

    3. Anonymous8:07 AM

      A) This blog is a BLOG. It is a PRIVATE blog, belonging to Gryphen. HE can decide what to write about, or what not to write about. THIS post is about a serious problem for the future of our country.
      If you want only PayMe inflormation, go to Bri$$y's blog and see what $he might be writhing (sic) about.

  3. Anonymous6:57 AM

    Cheaters For Jesus

    1. Hey -- sounds like a new reality show to replace the Duggars!

  4. Anonymous7:18 AM

    Common core is a big reason teachers are leaving. So I imagine it might be a reason few are entering the career. Though the latter is probably due to pay.

    There are several states that have education that have long been suffering under democrats. I lived in central Florida as a child and Florida was staunchly democrat before bush, then is became a split state with stagnancy. Floridas education system has sucked for decades.

    Teachers unions have lots of problems.

    1. Anonymous8:24 AM

      My son teaches STEM subjects at a Catholic high school He doesn't have to deal with standardized testing like public school teachers do. But he barely makes enough to live on, let alone pay student loans. He stays because he has free reign over his classes, is respected by students and parents, and gets to work with some really gifted AP kids.

    2. Common core is a big reason teachers are leaving.

      For the benefit of someone who graduated from (a Canadian) highschool 57 years ago, could you … anybody … elaborate on this statement?

      Is it the whole concept of uniform standards that you feel is a turnoff for teachers? The specific standards that have been set for English Language Arts? The specific standards that have been set for Mathematics? The way that the standards are (or aren't) implemented by states, school districts, schools?

      Please explain.

    3. Anonymous10:00 AM

      Ted, 7:18 thinks the implementation (more standardized testing to make the educational testing companies more $$$) IS Common Core. I always ask people who are against Common Core what they see wrong with the idea that by the end of Kindergarten, every student should know x,y, and z, then at the end of first grade, they should know... etc. The answers I usually hear are 'WE didn't do that 'til [two grades later]!' or 'I've done fine without knowing how to do that!' Or two of my favorites, 'I haven't used algebra since high school' (you probably have without knowing it, and if you actually haven't, that's sad), and 'we always did the carry the number, and it worked just fine... Why do they have to do fifty steps instead of that?' (Well, because that's a visual representation of what you're doing in your head, and understanding it will come in handy for more abstract math later on- most students go beyond what students 15-20years ago did).

    4. Anonymous10:37 AM

      You don't have a clue what you are talking about. Go educate yourself instead of repeating something you heard. If you want to argue this, then be specific about your claims.

    5. I tried googling: common core steps

      The top-ranked hit, presents an example from a textbook of a subtraction method unlike anything I've ever seen before, and follows it with a comment that begins: For third-graders learning Common Core math in Georgia, there are four ways to subtract—and only four ways allowed. Sounds like micromanagement to me!

      I found this on YouTube: Beginning at 11:54, James Corbett suggests that Common Core is aimed at creating working-class citizens, and points out that Bill and Melinda Gates' children don't attend a common-core school.

      Somewhere—maybe it was in the same video—a mathematician states that he was the only working mathematician involved in the development of Common Core … the rest had degrees in Mathematical Education.

      It all sounds like education for the 47%—or the 99%—to me.

    6. Anonymous4:51 PM

      Instead of beleiving what you Google about Common Core, which is full of misinformation, read them yourself at nowhere does it limit how to subtract.

      I'm personally happy that the majority on the committee actually knew something about teaching math.

    7. Anonymous6:39 PM

      My daughter was in third grade last year in a common core state. They learned different ways to do math problems and could choose among them, whatever worked best for them. That's much better than it was when I was a kid and we were only taught one way and we'd better use it (or pretend to).

      My husband and I certainly aren't Bill and Melinda Gates, but we do have a few of advanced degrees between the two of us. We are happy with the math education in our public schools.

      What I've learned from being a mom is that lots of parents love to complain.

      The kids don't have enough homework, the kids have too much homework.

      The kids aren't learning enough, the teachers are trying to teach too much.

      The teachers are going too fast, the teachers are going too slowly.

      The schools need more standards, the schools have too many standards.

      Maybe that's why fewer people want to become teachers.

    8. No. It's not.

      We've always had standards. Common Core just standardizes them.

      If you read the research the primary reasons teachers leave are poor working conditions, lack of respect/support and finances/benefits, in that order.

      Teachers will put up with a lot if they just had respect. But when the right started the ol' lazy, greedy, incompetent meme teachers had enough. Those that could left right away. Those that couldn't started planning for early retirement. Those that hadn't entered the profession switched to other professions.

      And so we have a teacher shortage. What a shock!

  5. Anonymous8:19 AM

    Who wants to teach the crap that Texas is cramming down the pipeline about slavery being beneficial for black people? Who wants to teach that the US is the best and only country in the world since sliced bread? Who wants to teach that evolution is a 'belief', but that creationism is the real thing? Who wants to teach that the Bible is the exact word of God and thus supercedes all science? Who wants to teach that the earth is 6,000 years old?

  6. Anonymous8:44 AM

    Education is number 1. But ! this year may be different. I don't know. My local school district has changed their route. They have decided that they will drive on private roadways to turn their buses around. Not to pick up children but to turn around on rural private property outside of county road maintenance. So? perhaps an education on private property rights is in order for the district manager of bus transportation?

    1. Anonymous10:30 AM


    2. Anonymous12:46 PM

      What does that have to do with teachers?

  7. Anonymous8:51 AM

    many are home schooled. or many teachers are now online for more money and benefit of being at home. Public schools and Charter schools are failing right now for the amount of money spent. Nothing has changed except poor management and lousy teachers.

    1. Anonymous10:29 AM


    2. Anonymous10:39 AM

      You are full of shit as well. Are you the same commenter as 7:18?

    3. Anonymous12:45 PM

      Do you really think online teachers make more money than those who teach face to face? What a laugh!

      My kids' teachers are just as good as the ones I had when I was a child and far and away better than the ones my parents had (who told girls they shouldn't be good at math and made the kids sit in rows without moving for 7 hours a day), not to mention the horrible teachers my grandparents had (my grandfather's teacher tied his left hand behind his back and forced him to write with his right hand because she believed left handedness was the sign of the devil).

      In general, management works hard under very difficult circumstances, due to budgets problems and clueless citizens such as yourself. Most of them do their best, but it can be a losing battle.

      You really don't know what you're talking about.

    4. Many? Define many. 3%?

      The rest of your little expose is B.S. and a prime example of why teachers are leaving and university graduates failing to choose teaching as a profession.

      Utter disrespect and cluelessness.

  8. I and many of my fellow teachers discourage our students from going into teaching. The poor pay and villification that we suffer make it difficult to sing praises of the profession.

  9. Anonymous11:40 AM

    One issue I hear from teachers is that they don't get back up from parents or that administration is too eager to please parents. If a parent says "don't plant pea seeds because my Johnny will be very said if his don't come up" (true story!) then that activity is forbidden by the principal. Too much homework, the way the classroom is arranged, the way spelling is or isn't taught- all fodder for parent complaints. A lot of education SHOULD be changing (it's not the 1950s any more) but "you don't have to like your teacher, just learn from him/her" (my mom's favorite) is something more parents should be saying.

  10. There is a solution. When the Pentagon needs money, the government 'allocates funds'. When schools need money, the government doesn't want to 'throw money at them'. It's a mindset. If educating the next generation were really important, teacher salaries would be raised to attract the very best. Fixing it is doable. You get what you pay for, and you pay for what you value. Nuff said.

  11. At long last I can indulge in and enjoy a big fat:


    Teachers have been warning about this with every regulation, every mandate, every anti-teacher/anti-union piece of legislation passed.

    And here we are.

    And the conservative right doesn't understand why the brightest and best, the math and science majors aren't all flocking to become teachers while at the same time they have been eroding the dignity respect and financial support of the profession.

    Who in their right mind wants to go into that kind of student debt to meet the demands of a profession the far right are working so hard to de-professionalize?


    Well, a big fat TOLD YOU SO.

    And now I will sit back and enjoy some smiling smugness. I retired June 30 and I have never been happier. I planned well and there is absolutely no reason on earth that would compel me to even substitute. The last few years I was treated like excrement and I have no desire to pull any educational institutions' fat out of the fire. They made their bed. Let them roll around in it.

    And if anyone pulls out that old "the children will suffer" chestnut I will say, well, where were their parents when all this was happening? Because it is not my responsibility to make sure other people's children get a first rate education IN SPITE of the actions of their parents. Their parents voted for clowns like Walker and Kasich. Well, I'll bet that cake doesn't taste as good when it's their kids getting short changed.

    Where was the movement to pressure Obama to get rid of that a$$ Arne Duncan? *crickets*

    Not my problem any more.

    1. Anonymous9:52 AM

      Hope your pension goes bankrupt. Teachers can't make it in the real world, so you teach, which these days means whine whine whine about your poor selves. Gimme a break. Loser.

    2. Anonymous2:46 PM

      What a surprise, 9:52, you hate teachers, too.

    3. Anonymous12:03 AM

      Unfortunately the mean-spirited attitude you've cultivated has undercut any good points you might offer.

  12. My son (21) has chosen to be an educator. He's in his last year at a CA University before he works on his credentials. When he made the choice to "change" his major from public service/fire science (hubby is a fireman), I had to walk a fine line to tell him where educators stand in the "villain hierarchy" and encouraging him and making sure that whatever he chooses he will be happy.

    I have sent him a few articles, but they are all so depressing/negative. He LOVES history. He is smart (Dean's List). The comments from retired teachers and others hurts and I can only hope that we are at that tipping point, we finally realize that it's not the way to go and we swing the pendulum back to focusing on developing our young minds in the best way possible.

    Go ahead and throw your depressing bombs now. I'll go into my bunker! :(

    1. Anonymous5:56 AM

      At my kids' schools the teachers are still loved by the vast majority of kids and parents.

      We need smart, dedicated people to go into teaching. Good for your son for choosing this path.


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