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New Teachers Face Tough Job Market

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
April 3, 2009

As more school districts announce teacher cutbacks, students graduating from colleges and universities with degrees in education are growing concerned about finding employment.

The East Valley Tribune in Arizona reports that all school districts in the state are bracing themselves for significant cutbacks which will affect the number of new teachers hired this spring. East Valley District spokesman Terry Locke said that about 75 new teachers could be hired this year, compared to 350 hired last year.

"We don't know what that total will be this year because we don't know the state's decision on full-day kindergarten and early kindergarten. If either or both of these programs are cut, it will involve reassigning staff to other grades, meaning fewer hires," Locke explained. "But the total will be much lower than 350 no matter what."

Alisa Johnson, who will earn her master's degree in curriculum and instruction in December, was among the 350 people who took part in a recent teacher recruitment fair in the Chandler district.

"Many fear that we won't have a job," Johnson told the Tribune. "When you started, you thought there would be a position for you. This is different than we thought it would end up."

California's Ventura County Star reports that about 100 students in the county will soon graduate with teaching credentials to work in elementary schools, but with uncertain job prospects. Some are expected to head back to school to push off student loan payments, others will look for employment out of state, and some will pursue other careers.

Margaret Gaston, president and executive director of the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, a public policy organization in California, noted that teachers will most likely be needed at all levels within a few years: The state is expected to have a record number of teacher retirements soon, enrollment in teacher preparation programs has slowed and elementary school enrollment is beginning to increase.

But the situation for teachers at present looks grim. Michael Cosenza, director of student teaching at California Lutheran University, noted that while most students graduating with teaching credentials typically find work within a year, this year may be an exception to that rule.

In Connecticut, The Hartford Courant reports that job demand remains high for teachers specializing in foreign languages, speech and language pathology and special education. Many vacancies also exist for math, science and bilingual teachers.

But that's not necessarily the case in every location. Amber Dvorak, who will graduate this May from Arizona State University with a degree in special education, told the Tribune that she worries about securing a job.

"All of our instructors told us we were recession proof," she said. "We're finding that's not true."

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