The 2018-19 school year is underway!  And, in recent years, stories about teacher shortages, long-term substitutes, and other staffing issues have become a staple of back-to-school reporting.

The National Council on Teacher Quality lays out the facts about the issue.

  • Only half the people who graduate from teacher prep programs actually take teaching jobs as new teachers in any given year. One reason is that teacher prep programs generally produce about twice as many education graduates as schools are hiring—they’re just not producing the types of teachers that most schools need.
  • The teacher workforce is growing. There were over 3.8 million public school teachers in the 2015-16 school year—an increase of 13 percent (about 400,000 teachers) in four years, while the student population has stayed constant during that same period.
  • Shortages are much greater in some subjects than others. Elementary education majors are consistently the most common area of initial certification, and yet schools don’t need to hire nearly as many as are produced. The teachers that schools have the most difficulty finding are those with STEM and special education certifications.
  • These shortages are nothing new. States have reported many of these same shortage areas for decades.