The US’s teacher shortage has made headlines for a while now. Potential causes are numerous, but as our new analysis showed, there has been a sharp decline in education degree completions from 2010 to 2014 that could be contributing to the scarcity.
In 2010, the number of national completions in education programs totaled nearly 354,000. By 2014, that number had dropped to 320,500—a decline of 33,300 (-9%).
The map below shows the growth and decline in education completions across the continental US. Decline has been especially acute in New York (-7,000 completions, -21%), Illinois (-6,400, -32%), and Arizona (-4,200, -23%). In fact, just over half of all states saw a dip in the number of completions.
States where education completions actually grew are led by Virginia (just over 1,700, 24%), Utah (just under 1,700, 40%), and North Carolina (1,200, 12%).
Not pictured: Alaska completions increased by 116 (25%) and Hawaii by 92 (9%).
Of all US metropolitan areas, Chicago saw the steepest downturn in sheer numbers (-4,700) while Salt Lake City experienced the highest growth (1,700). The following table compares the top five fast-growing MSAs with the five fastest-declining MSAs.
|MSA||Change||% Change||2010 Completions||2014 Completions|
|Source: EMSI 2015.2 Class of Worker|
|Salt Lake City, UT||1,719||96%||1,796||3,515|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL||(1,884)||(29%)||6,426||4,542|
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA||(4,049)||(16%)||24,718||20,669|
Just as cities and states aren’t hurting across the board, so specific programs within education have seen various fates. Worst hit was elementary education and teaching, which declined by 17,500 completions in the five-year period (-28%) and accounts for over half (53%) of the total decline for all education programs. It is followed by secondary education training (-3,800, -24%), education, other (-3,200, -34%), reading teacher education (-3,000, -30%), educational leadership and administration, general (-2,600, -8%), and education, general (-2,400, -7%). To visualize these proportions of loss, see the pie chart below.
The teacher shortage is undoubtedly the result of several factors and we would be naive to expect a simple solution. Nevertheless, part of that solution seems to begin here with students choosing to pursue education programs in college. As school districts grow more desperate to fill empty seats in the front of our classrooms, we would hope to see completions slow their decline—perhaps even grow—in the near future.