Teacher-Preparation Program Enrollments Continue To Decline

Education Week’s Teacher Beat blog reported last week that newly released U.S. Department of Education data “show that the numbers both of enrollments in – and completers of – teacher-preparation programs continued to decline through 2014, but not as sharply as a few years before that.”

In all, enrollments “are down by more than a third from 2009-10, while completers are down by a quarter.” The article provided this chart illustrating the recent downward trends.

Teacher shortages in varying degrees are being reported across the country and the narrowing pipeline of prospective teachers is one factor contributing to the problem.

Even in our neighboring state of Minnesota, to which Wisconsin is often compared, the Executive Director of the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA),  Kirk Schneidawind, reports the Gopher State is “experiencing a teacher shortage throughout the state—and a growing shortage across most licensure areas.”

In his monthly column in the March-April 2016 MSBA Journal, Schneidawind writes, “Our school districts are seeing a sharp decline in the number of applicants for open teaching positions. One school district recently shared that they used to receive hundreds of applications for elementary school vacancies, but recently only received 11 applications for five openings.” Does that sound familiar?

We’ll explore the teacher shortage issue further in a series of upcoming blog posts.  Stay tuned.