Smartening Up On The Teacher Shortage

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Published November 6, 2016
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The Montclarion
Photo Courtesy: Alby Headrick (Flickr)
Photo Courtesy: Alby Headrick (Flickr)

Photo Courtesy: Alby Headrick (Flickr)

Teachers may help us become more intelligent individuals, but even teachers are incapable of solving the problems facing our education system. Recent reports from the Economic Policy Institute and the Learning Policy revealed that a variety of factors, including lower pay and a growing student population, are leading to a decreasing number of teachers all over the country.

Leib Sutcher of the Learning Policy Program claimed that there was an estimated 60,000 teachers needed in classrooms across the country in 2015. Sutcher stated that the teacher shortage would likely worsen and the nation would be in need of about 100,000 teachers by 2018.

These statistics are particularly troublesome for schools in low-income areas, as they currently struggle to find teachers. Students in low-income areas are already at a disadvantage because they have lower quality textbooks and curriculum. With more and more people drifting away from the world of education, the struggles faced by school districts are become increasingly arduous.

Making matters worse, fewer college students are working toward careers in education. In 2011, 103,932 college students were interested in an education major. In 2015, only 87,653 college students were interested in pursing a career in education. While nearly 90,000 aspiring educators is still a big number, the significantly drop in less than five years is concerning.

Students in New Jersey should feel concerned as the state has not been exempt from the teacher shortage. The Department of Education revealed that this past decade has seen shortages in certain subjects and school districts across New Jersey, whereas the previous decade had no shortages.

The reduced number of teachers in New Jersey has commonly been attributed to college graduates carrying massive amounts of debt. Some recent graduates fear that a teacher’s salary will not provide them with enough income to begin to pay back their student loans, while also living comfortably. As a result, people who have a talent for teaching often end up venturing to other fields of work, leaving less qualified individuals to fill the void.

The importance of teaching is severely underestimated. A good teacher will not only educate a student on a particular subject, they will drive a student to want to learn more and become even more aware of the world around them. Especially now that the country is in such constant tumult, today’s youth need teachers to show them that there are people in the world, outside of their parents, who will give them a fighting chance to make something of themselves.

Montclair State University alone cannot help solve the national teacher shortage, but it can help alleviate the problem in New Jersey. Montclair State has worked hard to ensure each individual who is accepted to the education program is qualified and has and passion to be an educator.

This is deeply rooted deeply in Montclair State, as it opened solely to cater to the needs of future educators. As the university continues to grow, it seems that Montclair State has moved farther away from those original goals. It may just been time to revisit our past as a university to see that education cannot , should not and will not be left on the wayside. By doing so, Montclair State will ensure that the future generations will be able to reach their full potential.

Educators help students develop their talents and become as highly qualified for their desired field of work as humanly possible. After all, even an honor roll student needs a helping hand from time to time.

Montclair State was first formed as a teaching college and it is important to stick to those roots when the state of education in this nation is in desperate need of qualified teachers. By focusing on making college more affordable and accepting a greater number of future educators, Montclair State can provide some aid to the national issue that is threatening the education of our nation’s youth.

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