Will we have quality teachers in the future?


The degrading treatment teachers have suffered over the past decade at the hands of politicians and bureaucrats is turning talented, ambitious young people off from pursuing careers in the classroom.

“Teaching in general has been losing favor. From 2010 to 2013, the number of student candidates enrolled in teacher training programs fell 12.5 percent, according to federal data.”

The same treatment is causing teachers currently employed in the classroom to move toward the exit door. These two trends are contributing to a shortage of teachers.

An Arizona state education task force published startling statistics from surveys conducted by the Arizona School Administrators Association.

They found 62 percent of 79 districts who responded had open teaching positions. There were 938 positions filled by substitutes in the 2013-14 school year, an increase of 29 percent from the previous year; 53 percent of districts reported teachers breaking their contracts during the 2013-14 school year; 42 percent of districts said teachers who left reported moving on to careers with higher pay; 24 percent of the workforce in education will be eligible to retire within four years.

I predict that over the next decade we will see classroom teaching jobs filled by increasingly poorly-educated teachers, and children of educated parents enrolled either in private schools or public schools whose school boards are controlled by educated parents.

The only way for the nation to avoid this slippery slope toward further socio-economic stratification is to drop the war against teaching and quickly set about making the profession attractive again.

Kathreen Harrison

About Kathreen Harrison

Kathreen Harrison is a public school teacher in Maine. She has a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College. She has worked in a variety of schools in New York and Maine in a number of capacities – French teacher, gifted and talented teacher, elementary school teacher, and curriculum coordinator for island schools. She has lived in Maine for 20 years and has a particular interest in school reform.