Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Teaching Profession in 2015 (in Charts) - Teaching Now - Education Week Teacher

The Teaching Profession in 2015 (in Charts) - Teaching Now - Education Week Teacher:

The Teaching Profession in 2015 (in Charts)

At the end of every year (now for a record two years!), we dig through all the white papers and research findings and think tank reports sent to Education Week, as well as a few in-house originals, to find some useful nuggets of visual information that may have escaped people's notice and that help capture the state of teaching.
If not all groundbreaking, the data and graphs and statistics below serve as a reminder about some of the struggles educators face on a frequent basis that may not garner as much attention as perhaps deserved.
Last year's edition of this post focused a lot on the teaching profession itself: Composition, salary, benefits, etc. This year's edition looks at teaching largely through a student lens, because ultimately, how students perform in life after school comes to shape the teaching profession; schools are often a mirror for the communities surrounding them. When teachers get training in cultural competency, for instance, it's often not because that's just a nice thing to learn; it's because a lot of students of color are failed by the system, and that perpetuates economic inequalities, which drive demand for school solutions, which are implemented by teachers. One big cycle.
Now here are some graphs.
Chart #1: How Many New Teachers Stay?
For a decade or so, the de facto statistic about new teachers was that almost half of them leave the teaching profession within five years. But a longitudinal study conducted by the Institute for Education Sciences, published in April, found that statistic to be very different by 2012: Only 17 percent of new teachers are now believed to leave the profession within five years:
Thumbnail image for teacher-retention-2015-nces.jpg
Even if future studies find that the measurement has moved again, the change documented is a little shocking, and shows that it takes a long time and a lot of effort to understand where and when and how teachers move. The new data don't necessarily reduce the need to understand and address teacher attrition, but it does help clear up what turned out to be a major misconception.
Chart #2: Teacher Shortages
This summer, as schools looked to fill teacher vacancies, some folks looked at teacher-prep enrollment numbers and came to a conclusion: That there is a national teacher shortage, and ______ is to blame for it. Subsequent examinations, both here and in other outlets, have shown that"national teacher shortage" is a red herring, indifferent to the reality that education is still very local and  reasons for shortages of any one kind may vary.
There are persistent teacher shortages in some forms, such as in certain subject areas, in rural locations, and in non-white demographics, among others. But in terms of sheer quantity? The teacher-to-student ratio is about as good as it's ever been, as you can see in this chart published inEducation Week this past August based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics:
Teacher-prep numbers aren't the same as the overall teaching supply. An important part, yes, but not the whole story.
Chart #3: Student Poverty
In a study released last January, the National Center for Education Statistics published a sobering statistic: As of 2013, 51 percent of public school students qualified for free-and-reduced-price meals, a common indicator of low-income families. That's up from 32 percent in 1989. Here's a state breakdown:

The stressors that come from low-income life—worries about security, mental and physical health, etc.—affect instruction every day. For teachers, this chart represents a frank assessment that those The Teaching Profession in 2015 (in Charts) - Teaching Now - Education Week Teacher: