Getting Schooled
Labor Shortages Leading Schools to Drop Teacher Certification

There is a nationwide shortage of “qualified” candidates for teaching positions, reports the New York Times:

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.

But what’s really interesting is what some schools are doing about this. The Times mentions that some schools in California are “hiring college students and teaching interns to full-time spots before they’ve completed the certification process.”

We suspect the Times wants us to wring our hands over this, but we’re not. In fact, there may be a significant upside to the end of certification requirements. Teacher licensing requirements typically have nothing to do with student outcomes and mainly serve as bureaucratic hoops to protect members of the guild. If the shortages lead to fewer hurdles for the young and the energetic to become teachers—even if they only see it as a way station rather than a final destination for their careers—so much the better.


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