PA: Number of New Teachers Plummets

 This was rocketing around the Book of Face this morning. It's not encouraging, but I have verified it.

The actual source of the data is what's known as the Act 82 report, which requires the state Department of Education to report on how many Instructional Certificates it issues every year, which is a good measure of new teachers. I'm looking at the spreadsheet for Act 82, and I can report a few details to go with these lousy numbers.

Some of those numbers are out of states certificates, and some are add-ons. Both have plummeted. The peak year of 2012-13 saw 2,343 out of state certs; 2019-20 it was 878. At peak, there were 6,771 add-ons (way above average) but 2019-20, the number was down to 931.

Looking from 2013-14 through 2019-20, here's what has happened in certain certification areas of K-12.

Grade PK-4 has dropped from over 3,000 to under 2,000.

English 7-12 has dropped form 666 (I know) down to about half that.

In 2019-20, there were 5 new certifications for French K-12 issued in PA.

Phys-ed dropped from about 350 to 130.

Math from almost 400 to under 150.

Social studies from 722 to 300.

Act 82 also breaks down new certs by the college that birthed them, and virtually all of the state's heavy hitters saw big drops over the last decade. A handful (Geneva, Grove City, Tork, West Chester) hung on or improved. Geneva and Grove City have small programs and are very conservative schools--make of that what you will. Many of the big programs have seen a collapse over the last decade of around 50%, driving or driven by shutdowns of some or all of their teacher programs.

Administrative certs follow the same pattern. The high was 1,032 issued in 2012-13, but in 2019-20 there were just 693 new administrative certificates issued.

At this point, there's no reason to be mystified about this. We're talking about a generation that has seen teachers maligned and reduced to test-prep content delivery units. They have seen public school denigrated and teachers micro-managed, and they watch teachers struggle to support a family on stagnant salaries. They are choosing a different path. These numbers just help see clearly how bad the problem has become.

Bonus: If you'd like an even deeper dive from an actual scholar, here's a report on this data from Ed Fuller and Andrew Pendola at Penn State.

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