There are fewer high school graduates majoring in education, and the number of students who earn master’s degrees in education has declined over the past few years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Education groups have warned that low pay for teachers could result in fewer people choosing to enter the field. The evidence to back up their concerns is mounting.
The number of ACT tested graduates who indicated interest in education majors between 2010 and 2014 decreased by more than 16 percent. 5 percent of students who took the ACT last year indicated an interest in the education profession, down from 7 percent in 2010.
In 2010-11, the number of students earning a masters degree in education was 185,000. This dropped to fewer than 165,000 in 2012-2013
Pay is one reason that is thought by some to account for the lower interest. The New Jersey based Education Law Center found that when teachers start careers at age 25 they earn 80 percent of what non teachers earn. At age 45, that number drops to 70 percent.
The need for teachers is growing acute. The list of state by state teacher shortages from the US Education Department’s 2015-16 report is 174 pages long.