Teacher Glut Is Elementary

Stephen Sawchuk of Education Week has a blog post and a full story about the causes and consequences of elementary school teacher oversupply. The topic is timely, coming on the heels of NEA’s complaint about job losses in the public education field.

As much as the union would like to pretend this is all the fault of heartless, budget-cutting governors and their Evil Corporate Puppetmasters, the fact remains that we overhired K-8 teachers for years, and current reductions-in-force are the inevitable correction to the questionable hiring practices of the last decade.

I’m not being clever after the fact. The numbers were there for all to see as far back as 2007 and 2006, well before the recession hit. And we continue to produce too many K-8 teacher candidates while still suffering shortages in math, science, special ed and foreign languages.

Why? Because there is no additional incentive – financial or otherwise – to fill those specialized positions. That is Economics 101, but it’s probably short of instructors, too.

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