National education and labor news

Fewer enroll in teacher training

Enrollment in teacher-training programs across the country is declining.

In California, for example, enrollment is down 53 percent over the past five years, while North Carolina has seen a nearly 20 percent drop over the past three years. The number of students in teacher-preparation programs has also dropped sharply in New York and Texas.

Bill McDiarmid, the dean of the University of North Carolina School of Education, attributes the decline in part to a sense that teaching is no longer a stable career. Amid today’s increasingly politicized debates over public education, teachers are viewed as having less control over their professional lives, McDiarmid said.

Political and ideological battles over Common Core, high-stakes testing and teacher evaluations may be deterring new entrants to the profession. The erosion of tenure, education budget cuts and the scapegoating of teachers are also possible deterrents.

“It tears me up sometimes to see the way in which people talk about teachers because they are giving blood, sweat and tears for their students every day in this country,” McDiarmid said. “There is a sense now that, ‘If I went into this job and it doesn’t pay a lot and it’s a lot of hard work, it may be that I’d lose it.’ And students are hearing this. And it deters them from entering the profession.”

NPR, March 3

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