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A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand, and Shortages in the U.S.

Abstract

"Widespread media reports of local teacher shortages have become a hot topic in education since the summer of 2015. After years of teacher layoffs, districts began hiring again as the economy recovered from the Great Recession. Many were surprised to find they had serious difficulty finding qualified teachers for their positions, especially in fields like mathematics, science, special education, and bilingual education/English language development. A number of states greatly expanded emergency permits to allow hiring of untrained teachers to meet these demandswhich is the classic definition of shortage. To date, however, there has not yet been a detailed national analysis of the sources and extent of these shortages, and the prognosis for the future.

This report details the outcomes of such a study, which analyzes evidence of teacher shortages, as well as national and regional trends in teacher supply and demand. Using several federal databases, the authors examine the current context and model projections of future trends under several different assumptions about factors influencing supply and demand, including new entrants, re-entrants, projected hires, and attrition rates. They also investigate policy strategies that might mitigate these effects based on research about effective approaches to recruitment and retention."

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