Teacher preparation programs experience positive growth according to new federal data

It’s common knowledge that the number of teachers in the United States has significantly decreased compared to 15 years ago, largely due to the impact of the Great Recession and a continuous decline over the years.

Recent federal data presents a sliver of hope to researchers, indicating that initiatives aimed at making teaching financially viable, such as providing compensation to student teachers, have had a positive effect on the situation.

Between 2018 and 2022, there was a 12% increase in enrollment in teacher preparation programs nationwide, equating to approximately 46,231 more candidates, as reported in a March report on Title II data from Pennsylvania State’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy Analysis.

Several states have shown significant growth in their teacher prep programs in recent years, with Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Ohio, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Maryland leading the way with Maryland experiencing the highest average growth.

The modest increase in both enrollment and completion rates during challenging times in the education system has been a positive surprise for experts.

“It was encouraging to see … at the height of the pandemic, it certainly was not what we were expecting,” remarked Jacqueline King, a research and policy consultant at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Only 11 states witnessed continuous declines in enrollment for teacher prep programs over the past three years, including Montana and Minnesota.

I think that all the work that we’ve been doing around grow your own, apprenticeships and residencies… to open up more affordable pathways into teaching are starting to bear some fruit, which is amazing and fantastic,” King added.

Various factors contributing to these positive trends include federal pandemic relief funds and new state laws, such as those in Colorado and Michigan, that provide financial support to student teachers. For instance, in Maryland, some candidates receive a $30,000 living stipend during their year-long teaching residency.

“It’s real,” noted King. “It’s enough money that you’re not thinking, how am I gonna do student teaching and have a part-time job?”

Despite the positive signs, researchers warn that the growth is insufficient to meet the demand for teachers. Teacher shortages are especially prevalent in the southern and midwestern regions, particularly in critical areas like special education and math.

Analysis of federal Title II data by the Pennsylvania State Center for Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis

Over the past decade, enrollment in teacher preparation programs Back to blog

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