US: Students are suffering from a lack of teachers

A lack of teachers means many students are receiving a sub-par education. Source: Neonbrand/

With fewer teachers entering the profession, and more of them leaving their careers after a few years, schools are struggling to recruit enough teachers to meet student needs.

According to a study by the Learning Policy Institute entitled, ‘A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand and Shortages in the U.S.’ the annual teacher shortage could surpass 100,000 by 2018.

“The effect that this has on students and learning is clear. All students need consistency and quality in their education, and when this is disrupted, problems such as discipline and motivation of the students come to the fore,” Stephen Spriggs, managing director of education consultancy William Clarence told Study International.

“Without consistency and with constantly changing staff, children’s learning rhythms are disrupted. Even in schools where teacher levels are normalized, the result of being taught for extended periods of time by supply or unqualified teachers may lead to considerable damage in the outcomes of study for the students.”

“It also has a clear effect on teachers’ morale and only exacerbates the challenges of teacher recruitment. At William Clarence, we see the net result of this as an increase in demand for both private tutoring and specialist advice for parents on where to turn to give their children the quality and style of education they seek,” said Spriggs.

This teacher shortage has spread across the US, with numerous states taking emergency measures.

Virginia is rolling out an ‘express’ teacher training program to “help prospective educators start their careers earlier and with less of a financial burden”, reported the US News.

Robert Pianta, dean of University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, said: “Allowing teacher preparation programs to develop four-year models, in my view, has the potential to create stronger preparation and more effective teachers in a shorter time-frame than the current master’s-focused approach.”

There are also reports of shortages in Iowa, Colorado, and Idaho to name just a few states.

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