Is the National ‘Teacher Shortage’ Fake News?

Published April 26, 2017

Reports of teacher shortages across the country are rampant. Ross Izard, a senior education policy analyst at the Denver-based Independence Institute, told The Heartland Institute recently, “The notion of a teacher shortage is not a new one. We should be careful about accepting the wholesale argument we’re experiencing a massive teacher shortage. The conversation is far more nuanced than that.” A paper published today by The Hamilton Project echoes Izard’s sentiments:

In recent years, accounts of school districts having difficulties hiring teachers have proliferated. However, there is little evidence to suggest the existence of a pervasive, nationwide teacher shortage. Teacher shortages are specific to certain places and hard-to-staff subjects, demanding a similarly targeted policy response.

While anecdotal accounts of substantial teacher shortages are increasingly common, we present evidence that such shortages are not a general phenomenon but rather are highly concentrated by subject (e.g., mathematics, science, and special education) and in schools (e.g., those serving disadvantaged students) where hiring and retaining teachers are chronic problems.

The paper’s authors “discuss several promising, complementary approaches for addressing teacher shortages,” but only one is needed: removing regulation and allowing the market to work its magic.

SOURCE: The Hamilton Project


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