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Thursday, August 17, 2023

Teacher Shortage Crisis: You can't fill a pail with holes in the bottom with water

A 3 minute clip about this teacher shortage crisis. 

I am at our CCSU Literacy Center, researching and preparing for tomorrow's 103.5 FM Tom Ficklin New Haven radio show, 98/17/23). This is a continued conversation on the Teacher Shortage Crisis. This will be a conversation with great teachers with decades of experience who are passionately concerned about the future of their profession and public schools. Education is a field where policymakers, Education Reformers, and legislators seldom turn to teachers, parents, and children for answers. In my opinion this is the major weakness that has driven 40 plus years of failed education reforms in America. 

What exactly is a Teacher Shortage Crisis? In simple economic term is it an issue of Supply and Demand. Supply is the amount of a specific goods or services available in the market. Demand is the amount of the goods or services available. Teaching is not goods; teaching is a service. Teacher salary fact: "The average weekly wages of public-school teachers, adjusted for inflation, increased just $29 from 1996 to 2021 — from $1,319 up to $1,348. Teachers have consistently earned less than their non-teacher, college-educated counterparts, and that wage penalty was found in all 50 states and Washington, D.C." Teachers today make less than teachers in 1996" ( However money alone is not the sole issue. 

While teachers are leaving the profession at higher rates than at any other time in history, Policymakers, Ed Reformers, and Legislators are mainly focus on growing new teachers. The problem we are having with these efforts, is they have not engaged in serious conversations with potential future teachers. The problem with this approach is in the 1970's nearly 1 in 5 college students wanted to become teachers, today that number is down to 4%. 

Now consider this during COVID 300000 teachers left teaching. Filling that gap with 4% would take decades to fill. We simply can’t grow enough quickly enough to end this shortage. We must find ways to keep the current teachers in our classrooms as well. 

There are many reasons young people are choosing not to become teachers, declining pay is just one of them. I The veteran teachers on my show tomorrow believe the answer must involve stemming the exit from teaching. They believe finding ways to entice teachers to stay will help grow new teachers. Our future teachers are front row eye witnesses to teachers who are not only underpaid, but disrespected on numerous levels. They come to our universities with 13 years of witnessing how their teachers were treated. Trust me, they come fully knowing the struggles teachers face. 

Returning to Supply and Demand you can’t build supply while you are suffering massive pillages. My analogy is the current teacher shortage solutions are focused on one end of the supply chain. Think about trying to fill a pail with water with holes in the bottom. Addressing this teacher shortage crisis requires fixing the holes first.

Hope you join us 8/18.23 at 11:AM EST on 103.5 FM New Haven,  > <

Dr. Jesse P. Turner                                                                                                                                  Central Connecticut State University Literacy Center Director 

If you like to listen to the tune that inspire this post, its the Beatles Fixing A Hole > <

just in case you want to watch the radio show with teachers talking about how to keep the teachers we already have. Link