Tag Archives: deprofessionalization of teachers

A Memo To States: This Is How You Create A Teacher Shortage

Image Teacher Shortage

When I (Clare) was at AERA in the spring many of my American colleagues were despairing about the dramatic drop in applications to teacher education programs. The article below by Rebecca Klein helps demystify why teaching has becoming a less attractive career choice.

A handy recipe for a teacher shortage like the one in Kansas.

Rebecca KleinEducation Editor, The Huffington Post


It’s back-to-school time in Kansas, and kids are starting to trickle back into school hallways. But when these students arrive at their classrooms, they may not find a teacher standing at the front.

Kansas is suffering from a well-documented teacher shortage. Last year, more than 2,320 educators in the state retired, compared to 1,260 in the 2011-2012 school year, according to data from the Kansas State Department of Educaton. At the same time, 654 teachers decided to leave the state last year, compared to just 399 in 2011-2012. Over 270 open teaching and non-teaching school staff positions were listed on the Kansas Education Employment Board’s website as of Thursday afternoon.

Kansas has previously seen teacher shortages in areas like special education, as well as math and science. But this year, even typically popular jobs, such as teaching social studies classes or elementary school students, are proving hard to fill, KEEB coordinator Julie Wilson told The Huffington Post.

Those familiar with the situation say it is not surprising. A number of factors have recently converged to create a teacher shortage in the Sunflower State. Some of these factors are the result of actions taken by the state government and legislature. Over the past few years, Kansas has cut back on the job protections that give teachers due process rights, created a new school funding system that a district court panel ruled unconstitutional and cut taxes so severely that some districts lacked the revenue to stay open last school year.

“I find it increasingly difficult to convince young people that education is a profession worth considering, and I have some veterans who think about leaving,” Tim Hallacy, superintendent of Silver Lake Schools, told HuffPost last month. “In the next three years I think we’ll have maybe the worst teacher shortage in the country — I think most of that is self-inflicted.”

For other states looking to wind up in the same situation, here’s a surefire recipe for a teacher shortage:

The How To Create A Teacher Shortage Recipe 


1 cup of rhetoric against teachers

2 pounds of bills and programs that attempt to de-professionalize teaching (specifically, a proposed bill that would make it easier to jail teachers for teaching materials deemed offensive and a new program that lifts teacher licensure requirements in certain districts)

3 tablespoons of a lack of due process rights for teachers

½ cup of finely diced repeated budget cuts amid a state revenue crisis

1 stalk of a new school funding system that is currently being challenged in state court

2 grinds of growing child poverty throughout the state

3 tablespoons of low teacher pay

1/3 cup of large numbers of teacher retirements

What has happened to education in the U.S.?

We are just back from New York and New Jersey where we interviewed a number of teachers who are part of our longitudinal study. Since we have been following these teachers for 7 years, I (Clare) feel I know them well. These are very able educators who are now working in very difficult conditions because of external constraints. I heard stories of them having to submit DETAILED lesson plans regularly (for the following two weeks), being observed/assessed five times per year, having to change their programs in order to comply with the Common Core, assessing the children an excessive amount, having to forgo pedagogies/books/activities they know are what the children need, and tying their teacher evaluations to student performance on standardized tests. All of these supposed measures to improve education in fact are undermining education. These teachers are spending so much time testing and writing lesson plans, they do not have time to actually work with the children. And they know what needs to be done and how to do it! All reported HIGH levels of stress. They are being deprofessionalized as these overbearing compliance methods are imposed on them. The phrase, lack of respect, was uttered over and over again by them. When asked the question — If you had to do it over again, would you become a teacher? – the responses were disheartening. Most said no and many said they are actively thinking about other careers. What has happened to education in the U.S.?