Study: America’s Teacher Shortage Is a Bigger Problem than Thought
A new report says the shortage of skilled teachers in the United States is a bigger problem than people may think.
The not-for-profit, Washington-based Economic Policy Institute, or EPI, published the report last week. It was the first in a six-part series that aims to examine the causes of -- and solutions for -- the national teacher shortage in U.S. public schools.
Education experts have long been concerned about rising teacher shortages. The issue has grown more severe in recent years.
EPI's report notes that less than 10 years ago, many teachers were looking for jobs. Then, in 2012, public schools were looking for teachers. That year, the country faced a shortage of 20,000 school teachers.
By the 2017-2018 school year, the country was estimated to have a shortage of over 110,000 teachers. Those numbers come from the Learning Policy Institute.
However, EPI researchers Emma Garcia and Elaine Weiss argue that such estimates are still far too low. They say the estimates do not consider that many current teachers lack necessary training, experience and official approval to teach.
Garcia and Weiss found that, nationwide, one-third of teachers do not have an education background in the main subject that they teach. And, more than 20 percent have less than five years of teaching experience. About nine percent are teaching without the usual state certification.
The study found those numbers to be even greater in high-poverty schools – where more than half of students receive free or reduced-cost meals. In such schools, almost 40 percent of teachers do not have previous education in the main subjects they teach. And about one-quarter have little classroom experience.
Why is there a teacher shortage?
More and more, qualified educators are either quitting or deciding not to enter the teaching field at all, the EPI report says. Many leave the field because of poor working conditions. They also object to low pay. The average yearly pay for public school teachers has fallen in recent years, even as the cost of living and other expenses continue to rise.
In a statement, Garcia said the shortages of skilled teachers "threaten students' ability to learn and reduce teachers' effectiveness." And she noted the high number of teachers who leave their jobs takes economic resources that could be better used somewhere else.
A recent study by Gallup found that finding and keeping skilled teachers is the number-one concern among public school officials. Sixty-one percent of the superintendents questioned strongly agreed that "recruiting and retaining" good teachers would be a big problem for the schools they oversee in the coming year.
Gallup noted it was the first time this concern made its list of top issues facing public schools. Usual top concerns include decreasing state budgets for schools and the effects of poverty on student classroom performance.
What are some solutions?
Some states and school districts are trying new methods for finding qualified teachers. This week, lawmakers in South Carolina are considering a proposal that would permit retired teachers to return to their jobs. They would be able to do so while being paid more than the state's usual maximum earnings for working retirees.
And, more American high schools have begun offering classes to prepare their students for a career in teaching. The classes are part of a program called Educators Rising, which aims to ensure new teachers enter the profession with necessary skills and knowledge to succeed. School districts hope the classes can one day help reduce the teacher shortage in their states.
Researchers Garcia and Weiss say they hope the EPI's special series will bring attention to the many factors that have led to the national teacher shortage. Future reports in the series will center on low teacher pay, difficult school environments, a lack of early-career training and schools' struggle to retain good teachers.
The sixth and final report will offer solutions to address the shortage.
I'm Ashley Thompson.
1.official approval 官方批准
It takes a long time to wait for our proposal to gain official approval.
2.a lack of 缺乏
A lack of prudence may lead to financial problems.
3.center on 集中于
The topic centers on the crisis in these two countries.
4.economic resources 经济资源
We need the economic resources to back up our social commitments.
5.Sixty-one percent of the superintendents questioned strongly agreed that "recruiting and retaining" good teachers would be a big problem for the schools they oversee in the coming year.
a big problem 大问题
We now have a big problem.
I have a big problem with my school.
6.Researchers Garcia and Weiss say they hope the EPI's special series will bring attention to the many factors that have led to the national teacher shortage.
bring attention to 使...注意到
The bigger ones are put in by large companies to bring attention to their products.
I would like to bring your attention to the recent events.
位于华盛顿的非营利性经济政策研究所（EPI）上周发布了这份报告 。这是旨在探讨美国公立学校全国教师短缺的原因及解决方案的6份报告中的第一部分 。
教育专家长期以来一直担心日益严重的教师短缺问题 。近年来，该问题越来越严重 。
经济政策研究所的报告指出，在不到10年前，有很多教师四处求职 。到了2012年，公立学校开始招聘教师 。那一年，美国面临着2万名教师名额的空缺 。
到了2017-2018学年，美国教师空缺超过11万 。这些数据均出自学习政策研究所 。
然而，经济政策研究所的研究人员加西亚（Emma Garcia）和韦斯（Elaine Weiss）认为，数据显然被低估了 。他们表示，这些数据没有考虑到现有的很多教师缺乏必要的培训、经验以及正式的教学资格 。
加西亚和韦斯发现，全国有三分之一的教师不具备其所授主要科目的教育背景 。而且，教学经验不足5年的教师超过20% 。没有获得通常的州教学认证的教师大约为9% 。
该研究发现，在较贫困的学校，这一数字甚至更高 。在这种学校，超过一半的学生获得免费或低成本的膳食 。在这些学校中，约40%的教师不具备其所授主要科目的教育背景 。此外，大约25%的教师教学经验不足 。
经济政策研究所的报告指出，越来越多的合格教育从业者选择辞职或者不再涉足教学领域 。由于工作条件不佳，很多教师放弃了这一职业 。他们还反对低工资 。公立学校教师的平均年薪近年来有所下降，而生活成本和其它费用却在持续上涨 。
加西亚在一份声明中表示，经验丰富的教师的短缺“威胁到学生的学习能力，也降低了教师的工作效率 。”她指出，离岗教师人数众多，占用了本可以更好地用于其他领域的经济资源 。
盖洛普公司最近的一项调查发现，发掘并留住优秀教师是公立学校官员的头号问题 。61%受访的管理人员强烈认同，“招聘和挽留”优秀教师对他们来年管理的学校来说是一个大问题 。
盖洛普公司指出，该问题首次被列入公立学校所面临的重大问题清单 。通常，最引人关注的问题包括州对学校的预算减少，以及贫困对学生课堂表现的影响 。
一些州和学区正在尝试寻找合格教师的新途径 。本周，南卡罗莱纳州议员正在考虑一项提案，该提案讲允许退休教师重返工作岗位 。当他们的工资超过本州退休人员的最高工资时就能够实现这一点 。
此外，很多美国高中已经开始提供课程，为学生从事教学行业做准备 。这些课程是“教育者崛起”项目的一部分，该项目旨在确保具备必要技能和知识的新教师进入该行业并有所成就 。学区希望有朝一日这些课程有助于降低他们所在州的教师短缺数量 。
研究人员加西亚和韦斯表示，希望经济政策研究所的特别系列报告能够引起人们对导致全国教师短缺的诸多因素的关注 。未来该系列的报告将聚焦于教师低薪、学校环境落后、缺乏早期职业培训以及学校难以留住优秀教师等问题 。