Follow AAE on:

Subscribe to RSS Feed:

Budget Cuts Threaten the Next Generation of Educators
posted by: Alix | April 06, 2011, 03:21 PM   

President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have often mentioned that the cornerstone of their education agenda is their focus on recruiting America's best and brightest young people to a career in teaching. With programs like the TEACH campaign, the Obama administration realizes that we are at a crossroads with our teacher workforce, as the majority of American teachers will be retiring in the next ten years. Unfortunately due to unprecedented budget shortfalls and the threat of layoffs, experts are warning that college students will be less likely to pursue a career in teaching for fear of uncertainty in the profession.

International studies always show the key to success in high performing countries, among other strategies, is their ability to attract the top ten percent of college graduates to the teaching profession. This hasn't been the case in the U.S. and now, coupled with our inability to attract top tier college graduates, many are finding the threat of a pink slip a bigger concern in considering a teaching career.

Experts warn that this could be a very real problem in the coming years as the number of teachers declines. "It's a very dramatic decline," noted Dale Janssen, executive director of the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing. "It's kind of difficult to encourage people to become teachers when every time this time of year they hear about 20,000 pink slips going out."

According to Students First, at least 160,000 teachers are at risk of losing their jobs this year due to the union-backed "last in, first out" (LIFO) policy exhibited by many school districts that lets new hires go before veterans. This could deplete the young teacher pool even further.

The LIFO policy is often enacted due to budget cuts and worries experts who see our financial crisis as a threat to our entire education system. "That's one of the things I really worry about," said Ed Fuller, a teacher retention researcher at the University of Texas at Austin's College of Education. "Because I think these cuts are going to send a message to people that education is not a profession to go into."

In California for example, the situation is even more dire as the number of Californians seeking to become teachers has plummeted 45% in the last seven years according to a report released by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning.

How do we attract bright young people to the teaching profession when the entire country is facing such a huge financial crisis? Due to budget cuts, teachers are expected to do more with less, typically teaching in larger classes with fewer support staff. How will we attract our top students to a profession in jeopardy?

Comment below.

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Deb in Western Maine, April 06, 2011

The bottom line is that new teachers need support on many levels, and they need to be paid for their expertise. Where I live, a new teacher makes $30K a year...hardly enough to 1)attract a "top tier" scholar and 2)help a struggling first-year teacher pay staggering tuition bills.

Submit a comment
 (not published)
smaller | bigger

security code
Write the displayed characters