Between the 2007-08 and 2015-16 academic years, enrollment in teacher colleges fell by 23 percent (“Enrollment Is Down at Teacher Colleges. So They’re Trying to Change,” Education Week, Aug. 9). According to a survey by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the No. 1 reason is the perception that teaching is an undesirable career.
There was a time when teachers had far more control over what transpired in their classrooms. But pressure to boost test scores, coupled with lack of support, have resulted in a dramatic drop in job satisfaction. This is reflected in lower enrollment in teacher preparation programs. Programs most affected are special education, math, science, foreign language and bilingual education.
Who can blame the best and the brightest from shunning a career in teaching? When all teachers hear is criticism about the job they are doing, they’re bound to feel demoralized. The military has long understood the importance of keeping troop morale high. Higher salaries are a step in the right direction, but better pay is not enough by a long shot. Teachers have never chosen a career in the classroom to become affluent. They want respect and appreciation for the work they do. Until that comes, I expect to see more and more college graduates opting for other careers.
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