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    Dire Warnings About Teachers Leaving The Profession Have Been With Us For Over A Century

    By Larry Sand

    Many teachers have left the profession and gone into other work of various kinds because they could make more money. Frequently the best teachers are the ones who have left the profession because they have been able to command exceptional salaries elsewhere.” (H/T Tom Gantert.)

    The above quote is taken from the front page of the April 16, 1920 edition of the Charlevoix County Herald, a newspaper in Michigan. And the story has replicated itself repeatedly on a nationwide basis for the last 102 years. Just a few of the many recent examples: In June 2021, the National Education Association warned us that “Educators Ready for Fall, But a Teacher Shortage Looms.” We were told in September 2021: “Teacher shortage affecting education nationwide.” The Epoch Times sounded alarm bells in May 2022: “US Schools Facing Mass Exodus of Teachers Who Won’t Return This Fall.” In early June 2022, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said “Americans shouldn’t be surprised by disruptions caused by teacher shortages and the emerging labor market crisis in K-12 schools since educators are rarely supported in the ways other professions recruit and retain employees.” And NBC reported in June 2022 that Joe Biden “wants to fix the nation’s teacher shortage.

    So it seems that we are indeed in the midst of a serious crisis, right?

    Wrong. There is absolutely no teacher shortage writ large in the U.S., and actual data puts things into perspective. Researcher and economics professor Benjamin Scafidi found that between 1950 and 2015, the number of teachers increased about 2.5 times as fast as the uptick in students. But even more outrageous is that fact other education employees – administrators, teacher aides, counselors, social workers, etc. – rose more than 7 times the increase in students. Scafidi added that despite the staffing surge, students’ academic achievement has stagnated or even fallen over the past several decades. According to the latest data from 2019, Scafidi’s numbers are still accurate. As Heritage Foundation scholar Lindsay Burke notes, in public schools across America today, “teachers make up just half of all education jobs.

    While it’s true that certain districts may be short on teachers or lack teachers in certain subject areas, there are simple fixes to these problems. By cutting back on some of the excessive non-teaching staff, districts would have more money to entice worthy men and women to the profession. They could even pay bonuses to talented folks to lure them in – pending approval from the local teachers union, of course.

    Additionally, if a school district finds itself short on teachers, the state could help by lowering barriers to entering the profession. For example, teacher credentialing could be made more flexible. We could certainly eliminate our mostly useless education schools as an entry point. As I document here, a great majority of my time in ed school was spent learning about things like sociocultural identities, institutionalized discrimination, and anti-racist math. And that was in the 1980s – long before the equity- and gender-crazed, emotion-based progressive weltanschauung had fully engulfed our colleges.

    But isn’t it true that teachers leave the profession in greater numbers than other professions?
    Again, negative. Actually, the reverse is true.

    To continue reading, go to



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