Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education initiated an unusual measure. marketing blitz. For that, tv advertising It aims to encourage people to enter the teaching profession and in particular to promote diversity in the teaching profession.
The public service announcement depicts a variety of people working with students and says, “Experience the unique joy of helping students grow.” “Teaching is a life-shaping journey. Are you ready?”
The national campaign comes amid concerns about teacher shortages in many schools and school districts. And it’s not just an issue today. There are concerns that the pipeline of new teachers being trained is shrinking as well.
That’s because, since 2010, the number of students enrolled in college teacher preparation programs has declined by more than a third, from about 900,000 in 2010-11 to 2018-2018, according to the Association of American Universities. In the 2019 academic year, the number was only 600,000. Teacher education.and the group found In the fall of 2020-2021, 20% of undergraduate teacher education programs saw enrollment declines of 11% or more due to the pandemic.
So how are teacher preparation programs responding? Can we ensure that more people, and more people from diverse backgrounds, enter the teaching profession during this particularly difficult time? This week’s EdSurge podcast answers these questions.
For much of its history, schools of education didn’t have to think much about recruitment.
“We used to have a lot of students in the program and we weren’t really worried about it. We just said, ‘Come, come, we’re ready.'” says Stan Harward, associate dean of the College of Education at Utah Valley University.
But in the last couple of years, the college of education has started working with area high schools to introduce students to its programs and market the profession. In this program, high school students come to campus for half a day, tour the school of education, and meet with stakeholders.
“They visit our creative learning studios and work with robots. We want to show them what we do and what future teachers will learn in our schools. Harward said there will also be “prizes and drawings” for prospective students.
Meanwhile, high schools across the state are working with the Utah State Board of Education to add classes for aspiring teachers, he added. teaching as a profession. One of his classes is offered as a co-enrollment course with Utah Valley, so students can start earning college credits toward a teaching degree even from high school. “We’re trying to build a pathway for them to take these classes and connect with them early and maybe enroll them in our program early,” Harward added. .
And that’s just a small part of what’s happening nationwide.For example, a program like Rise of the educator Jacqueline King, a research, policy and advocacy consultant for the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, said there are chapters at high schools for students interested in teaching, who also provide information about schools and arrange tours. That’s what it means.
Such outreach may be particularly important for attracting teachers from groups that are underrepresented in education. “As you know, K-12 education, especially in elementary education, is dominated by white women,” says Maureen Kelleher, editorial director at Georgetown University. future education. She says the first time she heard the message that white girls should be teachers was as early as third grade, according to research conducted by the Center for Black Educator Development. “But for black men, no one taught them that before or after they entered college, so when they think, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” that idea doesn’t exist. ,” she says.
It turns out that the decline in interest in teacher preparation programs began before the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, many experts say the main cause lies in the 2008 financial crisis.
“I think it has a lot to do with people’s changing economic circumstances,” King said. “Students didn’t want to take on the large amount of debt they would have to take on to earn a bachelor’s degree and go into a field that paid much less than other fields.”
However, increased support efforts by schools may be beginning to bear fruit.
Nationally, King said, enrollment at many schools has remained stable through the pandemic, and in some cases has even increased slightly. “So it seems like we’ve reached a breaking point in terms of interest,” she says. “We just accept that to be the case.”
And at Utah Valley University, Harward’s school has seen a slight decline in enrollment, which they describe as “probably a few percentage points,” but officials say it’s not as large as other schools of education. He said he had not seen it.
“We have a lot of students who are starting their education right now, so we’re in those classes. So we’re hoping for a little bit of a turnaround here,” he says. “But we are not taking anything for granted.”