Thursday, May 20, 2010

NYTimes reports teaching job market has shriveled up, to a shocking degree; what happened to career switching?

Just a few years after some states were supporting “career switcher” programs to get people into teaching in the wake of “no child left behind”, now education graduates face a failing job market, according to a front page New York Times story on May 20 by Winnie Hu, “Teachers facing the weakest market in years”, link here.  But of this is happening following shocking teacher layoffs (although in Washington DC many laid-off teachers may get their jobs back).

Amazingly, for instance, Jericho, NY has 963 applicants for five jobs in special education.

All of this occurs in an era where there is talk of greatly raising salaries of the best performing teachers, and the government supports service programs like Teach for America. Yet TFA found its applications increase to 46000 for 4500 openings.

Just three years ago, George Washington University in Washington was selling Med programs and telling applicants in math and science that it would be easy to place career switchers into jobs.  And in some cases, a few years ago school districts in Virginia would sometimes permanent hire math teachers before they had finished course work for licensure.

It would be interesting to see how the situation affects substitutes next school year. Will more school districts or more states hire subs only from licensed or previously full-time teachers?

But over the years, particularly in the 1970s and 80s, teaching didn't enjoy a good reputation as a stable career because of economic dislocations and stagflation in urban eras during past economic downturns.

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