What’s going on:
The education sector in the United States is facing a sharp decline in the number of people conferring education degrees, according to Fox News. Adding to the worries of professionals working in the education field is the alarming rate of departures of teachers from the profession. Based on data from the National Center for Educational Statistics, Fox News reports that education degrees have fallen by nearly 50% between the 1970-1971 academic year to the 2020-2021 academic year. Around 300,000 teachers left the profession between February 2020 and May 2022, exacerbating teacher shortages and increasing class sizes.
Why it matters:
The dwindling interest in teaching careers and the high attrition rate among existing teachers is leading to a shortage of educators in the U.S. This trend is impacting the quality of education and is burdening remaining teachers with larger class sizes and increased workload.
How it’ll impact the future:
The current trajectory suggests a grim future for the education sector if these trends persist. The teacher shortage could lead to a lower quality of education due to overcrowded classrooms and overworked teachers. This could, in turn, affect the overall competency of future generations, impacting various sectors that rely on well-educated graduates. Additionally, the increased stress and workload on remaining teachers could lead to further attrition, perpetuating a high turnover rate.
The shift away from teaching as a popular career choice could be reflective of broader societal changes in the workforce, and it might also be indicative of post-pandemic economics — like high-interest rates. Beyond the education sector, this crisis could have ripple effects across the entire workforce. A less educated workforce could impact the competitiveness of businesses and industries, which has the potential to slow economic growth.