Dan Goldhaber is the director of the Center for Education Data & Research, a professor in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell, the director of the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) and a vice-president at the American Institutes of Research (AIR). He has a PhD in Labor Economics from Cornell and a curriculum vitae that is intimidating.
I, on the other hand, am a well-known grouch who writes about teachers’ unions. While it’s intuitive to me that we can’t be having a national teacher shortage crisis when we continue to replace every teacher who leaves the profession plus hire more, it’s better to have someone with impeccable credentials to tell us why. This, Dan has done.
I won’t rewrite his arguments here, but they’re not hard to follow, and highlight why experts in education policy, like Linda Darling-Hammond, can err when dealing with education labor.
“[W]e simply consider the annual demand for first-time teachers and compare this with the annual supply of potential first-time teachers,” he explains. “Using this definition, we show that the number of potential first-time teachers has far outpaced the demand for newly minted teachers for decades.”
Dan also shows that although we have actual and chronic shortages in certain subjects and certain geographic areas, we rarely take the logical steps to address them.
One more thing: Let’s also remember that we just came off a teacher layoff crisis. Maybe public education labor supply and demand isn’t quite like that of the rest of the economy.