From the Ithaca Journal

From the Ithaca Journal…..sad that there is teacher shortage, but there has also been negative treatment of educators and education over the years…..reducing the incentive to go into this profession.
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New York teachers wanted: Here’s why
State’s number of active educators has dropped
JOSEPH SPECTOR
ALBANY BUREAU CHIEF
ALBANY – New York has nearly 8,600 fewer active educators than it did five years ago, and the number of SUNY students majoring in education has dropped 50 percent since 2007, fueling fears of a looming teacher shortage across the state.
State education officials are warning about a lack of teachers and trying to find new ways to encourage young adults to enter the profession — while at the same time easing some of the regulations that have discouraged it as a career.
“We have become very focused in New York on what we can do to create the best teaching force we can,” state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia said.
The latest figures from the state’s Teacher Retirement System, which tracks the salaries and pensions of teachers and administrators, show a 3 percent drop in educators between 2013 and June 30 — falling from 273,328 to 264,761 over that stretch.
If you go back to 2010, the gap is even wider: There are 21,000 fewer teachers and administrators in the system than there were seven years ago, a 7 percent drop.
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Teachers
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Looming problem
There are two other issues that make the disparity even more acute.
Thirty-two percent of the workers are age 50 and above, so they will be nearing retirement soon; and there are not enough students in colleges studying to be teachers.
At SUNY colleges, many of which were founded as teaching schools, the number of students in teaching programs fell by half between 2007 and 2016: from 20,300 to 10,000, SUNY records show.
“Clearly there is a shortage on the horizon, and some districts are already experiencing significant difficulty attracting teachers,” said Carl Korn, a spokesman for the New York State United Teachers union.
Perhaps one of the reasons the problem isn’t more immediate is that enrollment in New York schools has declined in recent years.
The number of students in New York’s nearly 700 districts — excluding the so-called “Big Five” school systems — dropped nearly 6 percent between the 2010-11 year and the 2016-17 year.
So some fiscal watchdogs said the decline in the teacher ranks is consistent with the drop in students — despite school spending that climbed 13 percent over the past five years.
“New York’s school districts are receiving record-high levels of aid from Albany to educate fewer students, and our school taxes are still climbing,” Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center, a fiscally conservative group, said in a report in May.
Recruiting underway
But even in some districts where enrollment has declined, in rural areas, for example, they have reported trouble finding new teachers to replace ones that retired, school officials said.
Elia said the state Education Department plans to start an online clearinghouse so districts can post teacher positions that are available, and she and outgoing SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher started Teach NY, which aims to develop policies and programs to promote the profession.
Zimpher has predicted New York may need 180,000 new teachers in the next decade.
“There is perhaps no higher calling — no single profession that has a greater impact on quality of life and economic prosperity — than teaching; and yet today’s teachers are among the most underserved in terms of clinical preparation, professional development and support,” Zimpher said in a statement in June.
School officials point to the precipitous drop in teachers starting with the recession in 2008 and 2009, when schools in New York and the nation laid off school employees amid budget gaps due to the poor economy.
Also, the fight over new testing standards for students and teachers, both in New York and the nation, has soured interest in the profession, educators said.
Indeed, it’s not only a New York issue: the U.S. Department of Education estimated in 2011 that 1.6 million new teachers will be needed nationally by 2022.
Pros and cons
Still, efforts to bolster the teaching ranks in New York have drawn criticism.
In March, the Board of Regents, which sets education policies in New York, dropped a literary-skills test from the requirements needed for certification as a teacher.
It also loosened the measures to pass a performance assessment to gain certification.
“The changes we advanced today strike the right balance for both teachers and students,” Board of Regents chancellor Betty Rosa said at the time.
The group High Achievement New York, which supports stronger standards for students and teachers, knocked the move, saying regulations shouldn’t be watered down amid a teacher shortage.
“Reading and writing are fundamental to teaching and learning, and we must keep the bar high — a fact that’s as true for teachers as it is for students,” the group said in a statement at the time.
The latest fight over teacher qualifications deals with charter schools, and it pits the state Education Department against SUNY.
In July, the SUNY Charter School Committee proposed scaling back the requirements for teachers at charter schools. The changes would allow charter schools to develop their own teaching standards, as well as end the need to have a master’s degree.
State education officials and NYSUT ripped the proposal. SUNY oversees most of the state’s charter schools.
“The bottom line is: If you say teachers are very important, why is it you would give them less support to be meaningful for every student that sits in front of them?” Elia said.
But SUNY officials have argued that charter schools are unique and would benefit from greater flexibility for its teaching force.
“We want to assure you that the proposed certification process in no way indicates that SUNY leadership has wavered from the principles set forth in the TeachNY policy adopted in June or from the University’s founding commitment to ensuring that all of New York’s students — including those at charter schools — have access to excellent teachers,” Zimpher and Carl McCall, the SUNY board of trustees chairman, said in a letter Aug. 3.
The issue remains unresolved.

17 thoughts on “From the Ithaca Journal

  1. I agree with your comment. It’s remarkable that the story doesn’t mention vilification of teachers as a part of the problem.

  2. agreed. I’d go back to teaching-have to reactive my certification but NYS makes is so HARD to do that and hearing what my teacher friends are putting up with I wonder if it’s worth it.

  3. Currently, the state does NOTHING to encourage or support teachers, especially in the long, arduous, arcane, Byzantine process of getting certified.

  4. And imagining this part of Tennessee where teachers drive bus as well, just to make ends meet. They start out barely making minimum wage in some districts.

    1. in NY state, they changed the rules @ 2006 when I thought about teaching school, after working as a slide librarian, for which I had an MA in Art History (required for that job). Previously, it was ok to have a Master’s in any subject, now you have to …

  5. No different in Florida- jump through hoops to reactivate a certificate to earn less $$$ than another with only a HS Diploma.. I’d reinstate my certificate if it weren’t such a ridiculous process. I can look past the salary but not both!

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