Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A relative student shortage

The teacher shortage is an oft-played tune, yet it appears that we are suffering from a student shortage. What? According to the Education Intellegence Agency (EIA), the number of teachers continues to grow faster than the number of students.

Teacher shortage? Huh!

From EIA:
Public School Workforce Swells While Enrollment Growth Flattens. America loves its public school teachers. So much so that it continues to hire legions of them while growth in the number of students continues to peter out. An Education Intelligence Agency analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures shows that while K-12 enrollment grew only 2.45% between 2001 and 2006, the K-12 teacher force grew by 5.71% over the same period.

State level figures further illustrate the phenomenon. Twenty-five states had fewer K-12 students in 2006 than in 2001. Of these, 14 (Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont), had more K-12 teachers in 2006 than in 2001.

Even in states with significant spikes in enrollment, teacher hiring is keeping pace – and often greatly exceeding – that growth. Nine states (Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Texas) experienced double-digit growth in the K-12 teacher workforce from 2001 to 2006.

Per-pupil spending continues its steady upward spiral, with an increase of more than 25% (unadjusted) in the same five-year period. Spending on compensation tracked closely with a 24.51% increase. Oregon is the only state that did not experience double-digit growth in spending over that time.

The full state-level table is available at
http://www.eiaonline.com/districts/USA06.pdf. District-level tables will be updated with the latest figures over the next few weeks.

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