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Indiana teacher shortages

Fewer college students pursue career in education, schools scramble for teachers

WARM+WELCOME%3A+New+teachers+are+introduced+to+the+school+during+the+opening+school+assembly.+They+were+all+welcomed+by+the+student+body+as+well+as+returning+staff+members.
WARM WELCOME: New teachers are introduced to the school during the opening school assembly. They were all welcomed by the student body as well as returning staff members.

WARM WELCOME: New teachers are introduced to the school during the opening school assembly. They were all welcomed by the student body as well as returning staff members.

Photo by Julie Albertson

Photo by Julie Albertson

WARM WELCOME: New teachers are introduced to the school during the opening school assembly. They were all welcomed by the student body as well as returning staff members.

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A new issue has arisen in Indiana with fewer students earning a teaching degree than ever before. Between 2004 and 2014, the amount of teaching degrees earned has dropped 37 percent, according to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. The demand is growing exponentially as more people attend school and there are fewer teachers to satisfy the demand.

This issue is likely caused by a major disadvantage to being a teacher: the salary. According to the US Department of Education, adjusted for inflation, teachers in Indiana earn an average of 16% less than what they did two decades ago. Low salary and growing tuition costs of colleges contribute to the lower rate of students earning a teaching degree.

“I was limited by Catholic teaching positions,” religious studies teacher Mr. Thomas Sheridan said. “but it was not overly difficult to find a job since I had two or three different opportunities.”

Foreign languages teacher Ms. Jennifer Riedford also commented that “There were several Spanish openings, and I received many offers via email.”

These two brand new teachers experienced the demand for more teachers firsthand. Both of them had minimal problems finding a job, even being fresh out of school.

“The difficulty finding new teachers varies from subject matter to subject matter,” principal Mr. Chuck Weisenbach said. “Spanish and special education seems to be harder to find positions.”

Now becoming evident, Indiana is experiencing an unprecedented demand for teachers that may change each of our futures, not just as students or teachers, but as everyday people.

If the dropping rates of educators in Indiana continues to drop, schools may have to shut down, and those students will flood already full schools.

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