K-12 Teacher Supply, Demand, and Shortages in Pennsylvania
Bottom line: The dramatic decline in the supply of teachers, coupled with a slight increase in the demand for teachers, has created a teacher shortage in Pennsylvania that will continue for the next 5 to 10 years without serious changes in the system. The report makes several policy recommendations to alleviate this shortage.
The supply of teachers in Pennsylvania has declined significantly from 2011 to 2018 in every subject area. The number of instruction licenses has fallen by about half over that timeframe. Pennsylvania has experienced some of the steepest declines in the number of students enrolled in teacher preparation programs (TPPs) and the number of graduates from TPPs of all states. The number of teachers entering the Commonwealth from out-of-state and the number of teachers transferring from private schools or returning to teaching after a hiatus have all declined as well.
The primary cause of the shortage in Pennsylvania is the insufficient supply of individuals willing to enter the teaching profession. These substantial declines have occurred in all regions of the state and for both urban and rural areas. Aside from special education, these declines occurred for all school levels and all subject areas. For eight of the 11 areas, the decline was at least 60 percent, and there was at least a 70 percent decline for secondary mathematics, technology-related areas, and physical/health education.
This study suggests the demand for teachers will increase slightly over the next decade. However, this trend will have a marginal effect on the balance between the supply and demand for teachers.
The study issues several policy recommendations to overcome this shortage, including:
- Commissioning a group of experts to review and make recommendations for improving the data collection surrounding the educator workforce in Pennsylvania.
- Creating an expert working group to research the causes of the decline in enrollment and completion of TPPs as well as review and propose incentives for individuals to enter the teacher workforce through TPPs.
- Developing and administering a yearly survey of principals and superintendents regarding teacher supply, demand, and shortages.
- Commissioning a study of teacher attrition in the Philadelphia Metro area.
- Developing data-sharing agreements with surrounding states so that PDE and Pennsylvania TPPs can identify the number and percentage of newly licensed teachers who take positions in other states.
- Reviewing teacher licensure rules—especially those creating licenses for grade spans that do not map onto school grade configurations.
- Conducting a thorough review of TPP rules to identify and removing unnecessary barriers to entering the teaching profession.
- Highlighting the benefits of entering the teaching profession.
- The supply of teachers in Pennsylvania has declined significantly from 2011 to 2018 in every subject area.
- The number of instruction licenses has fallen by about half over that timeframe.
- These substantial declines have occurred in all regions of the state and for both urban and rural areas.
- Aside from special education, these declines occurred for all school levels and all subject areas.