Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Teaching is not as popular as it used to be

A couple weeks ago the Des Moines Register ran a story about the decline in enrollment in education at Iowa's colleges and universities.

The pattern threatens to fuel teacher shortages in some subjects and toughen competition for top talent, officials say. Iowa is a longtime exporter of educators.

"People view teaching as something that is not really as rewarding as it used to be," said Judy Jeffrey, the state's top education official. "It's very troubling."

At the heart of Iowa's trend is an unprecedented dropoff in new elementary schoolteachers.

Candidates for teaching endorsements in elementary education have dropped by nearly a third since the 2003-04 school year, a new Iowa Department of Education report shows.
I see the cause of this is twofold.  One reason is the increased pressure to increase test scores due to No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which was passed in 2001. The efforts by educators to increase test scores isn't always matched by parents in the community.  Many schools have cut the amount of time teaching art, music, science, and social studies in order to focus strictly on teaching reading and math because those are the subjects being tested. This creates a stressful and negative work environment where creativity is looked down upon because it might hurt test scores.

Second, teacher salaries remain low nationwide.  A teacher with their masters degree makes far less than other profession who have master's degree such as engineers, accountants, and lawyers.

Until teachers are seen as valued professionals in the community, fewer people will decide to go into the profession.

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