“Education is not the answer to the question. Education is the means to the answer to all questions. “
Since the great recession, there is a growing concern for the difficulty of finding qualified teachers. Absent the myriad of data espoused by states and/or organizations. The only direct estimate of the size of the national teacher shortage comes from the Learning Policy Institute’s seminal 2016 report, A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand, and Shortages in the U.S. (Sutcher, Darling-Hammond, and Carver-Thomas 2016).
The study defines shortages as “the inability to staff vacancies at current wages with individuals qualified to teach in the fields needed.” Similarly, the authors noted that without major changes, the shortage would reach an estimated 110,000 by the end of the 2017-2018 school year.
That was then, in March 2019 the Economic Policy Institute published a follow-up report which examined the factors contributing to the shortage, determining and I quote “the shortage is real, large, growing and worse than we thought.”
Lest we forget, the findings along with a plethora of data confirming the same are pre-COVID-19. We haven’t begun to assess the ramifications and long-lasting effects the pandemic has had and will have on society. This presents a troublesome outlook for the future of education, not just with our often-neglected teachers.
Teachers play a significant role in modern-day evolution, moreover progress.
The shortage of teachers has an exponential effect on students, the public education system, and more importantly our future. In this regard, addressing our educational needs demand we address the systemic wage penalty responsible for teachers on average earning 78.6 cents on the dollar compared to college graduates.
Consequently, there is a growing consensus that the U.S is facing an unprecedented shortage of teachers, primarily due to the “wage penalty.” The wage gap is exacerbating the difficulties teachers face when dealing with the cost of living in states like Florida with higher housing costs.
The fact remains that our elected officials have ignored this problem for too many decades. In fact, in 1960 teachers earned 14% less than comparable workers, which is now 15%. Contrary to the belief that this is progress.
Quite frankly it is shameful, that our elected officials have a hard time with elementary math. For me, this is a clear indication that our teachers are needed now more than ever.