The only shortage facing the U.S. in education is quality
According to the Bellwether Education Partners report there is no “national, generic teaching shortage.” Instead, authors Kaitlin Pennington McVey and Justin Trinidad, suggest that “Shortage rates are highest in schools serving low-income students and students of color and in subject areas that include mathematics, science and special education.”
Students cannot learn from teachers who don’t know their subjects. This is especially true in math and science. Unfortunately, the current school system creates great teachers only by accident, not by design.
This reminds us of the Norm R. Augustine statement before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science: “About two-thirds of the students studying chemistry and physics in U.S. high schools are taught by teachers with no major [degree] or certificate in the subject.”
Major changes to the education system are needed. The selection and preparation of our professionals in the teaching arena need to be at the forefront of this system change. This starts with the elimination of certification laws. As Don Nielsen, Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute states in his book Every School, “Today, in education schools, we try to teach students how to teach content, instead of training content-competent people how to teach. We have it backwards.”
Legislation designed to implement needed changes will not be easy to pass, as most believe certified is synonymous with qualified. Certification laws are keeping the most qualified people out of the profession. Completely eliminating or significantly altering certification laws will be the quickest way to facilitate these teaching-quality problems and to bolster the reputation of the teaching profession.