Analysis Of Projected Need
Matching the availability of teachers to demand constantly evolves. During recessions, teacher layoffs are common as class sizes rise and programs close. As economic times lift, schools acquire resources and hire personnel. Currently, as the economy improves, American schools are confronted with shortages, now most severe in special education; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and bilingual education. Shortages vary across the country and are most acute in areas with lower wages and in poor schools. During shortages, schools resort to emergency or temporary credentials to meet needs. Teacher supply consists of recent graduates, alternative credentialed teachers, those returning to the profession, and teachers moving between schools. A 35% drop in pre-service enrollment and high teacher attrition currently impact the supply. Candidates and veteran teachers are influenced to leave teaching due to low compensation, stressful working conditions, and a perceived decline in respect. The demand side is influenced primarily by fluctuations in population, finances, and education policy. Matching supply to demand is a challenge but can be accomplished through better planning, procuring less volatile funding sources, and improving working conditions through improved pay and effective training.