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Volume 14, Number 1
January/February 1998

Teachers Wanted

Schools Look for Creative Solutions to Upcoming Teacher Shortage


Perennial predictions of impending teacher shortages have made researchers look like the boy who cried wolf. Despite projections that widespread teacher shortages would hit in the 1990s, most school districts face tight markets in only certain subject areas. Widespread shortages during this decade have so far been limited to specialized fields such as science, special education, math, and bilingual education, according to a 1995-96 University of Michigan survey of education administrators in 294 public school districts. Nationwide shortages, however, appear to have only been delayed: inevitable retirements and rising enrollments from children of baby-boomers are forcing districts to come up with a variety of solutions to make hiring easier in the next decade.

While some urban and rural school administrators are struggling to fill a variety of positions, rising teacher salaries and the economic anxieties caused by a recession have kept many retirement-age teachers in the classroom longer than expected, which has delayed across-the-board teacher shortages.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


For Further Information

For Further Information

P. T. Ashton. "Improving the Preparation of Teachers." Educational Researcher 25, no. 9 (1996). 21-22, 35.

J. Shen. "Has the Alternative Certification Policy Materialized Its Promise? A Comparison Between Traditionally and Alternatively Certified Teachers in Public Schools." Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 19, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 276-283.

B. C. Clewell. Recruiting, Preparing, and Retaining Teachers for America's Schools. Progress Report: Pathways to Teaching Careers (August 1997). Dewitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, Two Park Avenue, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10016.

L. Darling-Hammond. "Teaching and Knowledge: Policy Issues Posed by Alternate Certification for Teachers." Peabody Journal of Education 67, no. 3 (1990) 123-154.

S. M. Johnson. Teachers at Work: Achieving Success in Our Schools. New York: Basic Books, 1990.

R. J. Murnane et al. Who Will Teach? Policies That Matter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991.

National Commission on Teaching and America's Future. What Matters Most: Teaching for America's Future, September 1996. PO Box 5239, Woodbridge, VA 22191-5239.

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. America's Teachers: Profile of a Profession, 1993-94 (NCES 97-460). Washington, DC, 1997; 202-219-1744.