Enrollment Down by a Third in Teacher Prep Programs
- By Dian Schaffhauser
in teacher preparation programs is on the decline. Research
by the Center
for American Progress
found that enrollment in those programs has dropped by 35 percent
between 2010 and 2018, even as enrollment in all bachelor degree
programs has increased. Nine states saw "drastic"
reductions of more than 50 percent (Oklahoma, Michigan, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Illinois, Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico and Rhode Island).
Only five states saw an increase over that period (Utah, Arizona,
Washington, Texas and Nevada). The center is a nonpartisan policy
institute that promotes improving the lives of all Americans.
analysis used state data on teacher education program enrollment
broken out by gender, race and ethnicity; entry and exit requirements
for programs; completion numbers; and the subjects or certification
areas in which enrollees were being prepared to teach; as well as
to researcher Lisette Partelow, senior director of K-12 strategic
initiatives, not only are enrollments dropping, but program
completion has also shrunk (by 27 percent). In four states, the dive
in completion exceeded 50 percent. Just five states, along with the
District of Columbia, saw increases.
only type of teacher prep program that saw an overall increase was
the "alternative program," which, as Partelow pointed out,
"can be run by for-profit companies and vary greatly in terms of
timing, coursework and training." Those experienced a 42 percent
despite a rise in the number of Black and Latinx students enrolling
in higher education, those choosing to pursue teaching degrees has
also declined — 25 percent for Black students and 11 percent for
education and STEM were two areas where the shortages have been
"persistent," the report noted. On the other hand, there
was a 30 percent increase in teachers preparing to teach English as a
second language or bilingual education.
are the reasons for the change in enrollment and completion? The
report suggested several factors at play: low salaries for teachers,
less parental influence encouraging students to pursue that field,
difficult working conditions and a lack of career pathways.
and state policymakers could do more to turn around lack of interest
in the teaching profession, the report asserted, including gathering
and reporting more kinds of data on teacher prep programs and teacher
labor markets; using that information to strengthen the programs and
"modernize" the profession; and showing great skepticism in
legislating favors for the for-profit, alternative certification
teacher prep program enrollment and completion is critical for
averting teacher shortages, particularly ahead of another recession
and the potential for further divestment," said Partelow, in a
statement. "This new report suggests that many states have a lot
of work to achieve that goal and identify where they are falling
To Make of Declining Enrollment in Teacher Preparation Programs"
is openly available on
the Center for American Progress website.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.