Friday, November 16, 2018

The Teacher Shortage in the United States: Introduction

{The introduction briefly explains the information that will be discussed in the business report. Some of the important vocabulary in this section is Act 10, No Child Left Behind, and the Race to the Top initiative.}

INTRODUCTION

Nelson Mandela stated that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” When education is disrupted, consequences will arise. This study was designed to provide an analysis on the effect of the shortage of teachers in the United States and to show possible solutions that have been done in the past and new solutions that are starting today. Specifically, the study answers these questions:

  • ·       What current issues teachers deal with since the start of Act 10 and the reduction of collective bargaining rights? How does Act 10 affect school district handbooks, job stability, and teacher rights?
  • ·       What side effects have come from the over usage of state standardized tests and how No Child Left Behind and the Race to the Top initiative links teacher quality to student test scores? How much and what kind of academic pressure affects teachers because of standardized tests?
  • ·       Why is teacher compensation causing teachers to leave the profession?


Background

The current teacher shortage in the United States is nothing new. The 1990s saw a similar shortage of teachers and effects. The 1990s saw a decrease in teacher compensation and overcrowding of school classrooms making teachers feel underpaid and overwhelmed (Berry & Shields, 2017). Several issues have arisen in the last few years, especially since 2011 when Governor Scott Walker revealed his budget plan for Wisconsin in the form of Act 10, an attack that later increased the number of teachers leaving the profession (D’Andrea, 2013). Teachers are dealing with changes in the profession without much support from the government and administration.

Today, teachers are dealing with the effects of decreased collective bargaining rights, the stress caused by state standardized tests, and a decrease in teacher compensation with an increased workload. No Child Left Behind and the Race to the Top initiative has further increased stress levels of teachers by tying the quality of a teacher to student test scores (Rose, 2015). Students in public school now have nearly six weeks of standardized tests each year (Rizga, 2015 & Suh, 2015).

A study in the Peabody Journal of Education goes into detail about the real risks of Act 10 and the residual effects that are being seen today in the current teacher population. With teacher rights and job stability decreasing, teachers are becoming uncertain about their jobs and the teaching profession (Swalwell, Schweber, Sinclair, Gallagher, & Schirmer, 2017).  A separate study published in the Backgrounder goes into detail about the war on teacher compensation. Because of the reduction in teacher compensation, teachers are leaving the profession and in response, students are suffering. Many times, student tests scores still fall below average and the teachers who instruct those students are affected by the students’ scores (Richwine & Biggs, 2012). With less potential teachers going through teacher preparation programs and teachers leaving the profession, the teacher shortage today has reached a breaking point. 

Purpose of the Report

The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of the effect of the shortage of teachers in the United States and to propose practical solutions that address the issues of collective bargaining, state standardized tests, and teacher compensation.

Scope

This report includes information on the effects of Act 10 (collective bargaining), risks of state standardized tests, and teacher compensation, but doesn’t include information on why politicians continue to limit teacher rights, why state standardized tests are being increased, or how teacher compensation is currently interpreted. 


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