Oakwood superintendent: Teacher shortage puts student education at risk

College students preparing to don the cap and gown and accept their diplomas are far less likely today to be looking at a career in teaching — and that could be putting our future youngsters’ education at risk.

In 1975, more than 20 percent of college students majored in education, and that was more than any other major. But now, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, just one in 10 Americans are pursuing a career in education. This serious teacher shortage is leaving school districts scrambling to find qualified teachers, and projections suggest it is only going to get worse. As we visit job fairs and work with our university partners, we are seeing less and less highly qualified candidates, especially those licensed to teach seventh to twelfth grade. There just aren’t enough graduates to go around.

If we are seeing this impact now, what will it mean 10 years down the road?

Teaching is a great profession, and as I wrap up my third decade as an educator, I would highly recommend it. Unfortunately, I have often heard from those outside of education, “I would never want to do your job,” and “Who would ever want to put up with that?” While this may be said with good intentions, when it is overheard by impressionable ears, it actually hurts the profession.

When was the last time you heard a valedictorian who wanted to become a teacher?

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