The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education has a new report out presenting data from its annual survey of teacher colleges as well as from other sources. A couple of their numbers are particularly helpful for understanding the supply of teachers.
- 241,000 students completed programs for initial teacher certification in a recent year.
- 164,000 teachers were new hires who had never taught before.
That means that education programs produce about 50 percent more teachers than are needed. (“About” because the two numbers above were measured a couple of years apart.)
What’s the problem? Training teachers well is expensive. Most especially, you need to arrange student teaching experiences with really good mentors–and good mentors are in short supply.
Training a third more students than can find jobs wastes resources, and it probably means that you’ve done a disservice to a bunch of students who’ve worked to become teachers and who won’t be placed in the career they’ve qualified for. Sure some students are going to change their minds about a career. In fact, one reason kids go to college is to be exposed to new life paths. But it looks to me that some shrinkage of teacher training programs might be not all that terrible.