Sunday, August 09, 2015

Nobody Could Have Predicted

One of the life's great mysteries is how many people want to entrust their children* for 6 hours per day to underpaid, undertrained, and resentful, given the current political climate, people.
ROHNERT PARK, Calif. — In a stark about-face from just a few years ago, school districts have gone from handing out pink slips to scrambling to hire teachers.

Across the country, districts are struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science and special education — a result of the layoffs of the recession years combined with an improving economy in which fewer people are training to be teachers.

At the same time, a growing number of English-language learners are entering public schools, yet it is increasingly difficult to find bilingual teachers. So schools are looking for applicants everywhere they can — whether out of state or out of country — and wooing candidates earlier and quicker.

Some are even asking prospective teachers to train on the job, hiring novices still studying for their teaching credentials, with little, if any, classroom experience.

Of course a teacher shortage was inevitable. Many teachers are near retirement. There's been a general attack on the profession, including reducing wages, benefits, and, yes, prestige. If I had been advising someone a few years ago who was considering going into teaching I would have told them they were nuts. Whether or not that would have been good advice (an acute enough shortage might actually turn things around for the career), it seemed to be pretty solid at the time, and given college enrollments in the field it's apparently advice that was followed by many.

*There always the "other people's children" aspect, but plenty of people are cheap with their babysitters and nannies, too, including people who can afford not to be.