USDOE-Documented Teacher Shortages by State, 1990-2016
Each year, states are able to file reports with the US Department of Education (USDOE) regarding teacher shortage areas (TSAs) in each state/territory. Teachers in critical-need areas qualify for federal loan forgiveness and/or loan deferment.
The attached file also allows one to view state (and US territory)-identified (and federally verified) teacher shortages by state across 25 school years (1990-91 to 2015-16). Shortages are identified by subject area; some states/territories also identify shortages by school systems.
Let’s take a moment to focus on Utah since it has been in the news of late for a move supposedly to address its teacher shortage:
Beginning Monday, August 15, 2016, Utah districts will be able to hire college graduates who pass a subject area test and who have no prior teaching experience or training, purportedly to address Utah’s pressing teacher shortage.
The catch is that veteran teachers will have to mentor the novices for three years.
According to Utah’s report of its teacher shortage areas in the USDOE PDF above, the state’s move to nix any requirement of formal pedagogical training and classroom internship prior to employment does not appear solidly justified. On the contrary, the move appears on its face to promote teacher exit by placing an additional administrative burden on Utah’s veteran teaching force.
Here are Utah’s teacher shortage areas for 2015-16 as noted in the USDOE PDF:
- Foreign Language (Chinese and Dual Immersion)
- Mathematics (Level 4)
- Special Education – Severe Disabilities
- Speech Language Pathology
Utah included no listing of critical need school systems.
An unanticipated byproduct of Utah’s new, 3-years-mentored teacher move could be that it drives increasingly-worked veterans outside of the classroom. Of course, the policy could also flounder as veteran teachers decline to participate.
But let us end our focus on Utah.
The USDOE PDF has 174 pages of longitudinal teacher shortage information to peruse on the other 49 states, DC, and US territories.
All but one state listed teacher shortage areas for 2015-16; many include special education, English as a second language, bilingual education, foreign language, mathematics, art (or the arts).
Only Pennsylvania identified “no significant teacher shortages” for 2015-16:
An anomaly in this age of slashing education budgets and grading teachers using student test scores.