Teachers are role models and influencers. They serve students from all walks of life to equip them with necessary life skills and knowledge. However, the decline in interest for teaching as a career has affected the outlook for the profession.
The number of students pursuing a degree in education has decreased by 10 percent nationwide, according to Education Dive. And nearly 8 percent of teachers have left the profession over the last 10 years.
In response to this decline, leaders within Missouri State University’s College of Education (COE) are organizing efforts to combat the shortage.
More than 40 local educators and community partners will gather on Feb. 7 to discuss ways to solve the teacher shortage.
“The goal of our Think Tank event is to generate ideas that will enable my leadership team to create a proactive action plan to attract more young people into the field of education,” said Dr. David Hough, dean of the College of Education.
In 2017, more than 100,000 teaching positions were filled by inadequately-trained teachers, according to Teacher Shortage Toolkit.
“We hope to regain the high ground on public perception of teaching,” said Dr. Stephen Kleinsmith, director of school and community partnerships at Missouri State University.
Hough noted that the last study of teacher supply and demand in Missouri was completed by the MSU Institute for School Improvement in 2001.
“Missouri should commission a new study to identify areas that will be impacted most,” said Hough. “Based on available data, it appears as though Missouri and the rest of the United States will face severe teacher shortages within a year or two if something isn’t done immediately.”
The College of Education’s Think Tank will begin at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 7 in Kentwood Hall.
Participants of the event include:
- Paul Katnik, assistant commissioner for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Sara Lampe, long-time educator and former member of the Missouri House of Representatives
- A consultant from Mobile, Alabama
- Local educators
- Care to Learn employees
- Special education experts
Speakers will focus on how to change perceptions about teaching careers and the current shortage of qualified teachers.
Group discussions and workshops will tackle ideas to actively combat it. Current College of Education students will provide further context for discussion.
“We need to bring this matter to the attention of our community and listen our way to solutions,” Kleinsmith said.