Demand Up For Math And Special Education Teachers

Compiled By Staff
December 2, 2009

Although cuts to school budgets have resulted in less availability of teaching jobs overall, educators who specialize in areas such as math or special education are still in great demand.

The Associated Press [from an article originally located at] reports that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational institutions have shed about 125,000 jobs since last fall. As a result, the American Association for Employment in Education noted that the nationwide demand for teachers in 60 out of 61 subjects dropped this year. Typically, more than a dozen subjects reported having extreme shortages of teachers; this year, a shortage existed for math teachers only.

Schools are responding to the demand accordingly. The AP notes that according to Rick Ginsberg, dean of the school of education at the University of Kansas, students are now being encouraged to receive teacher training in math or areas such as special education--a specialty which many schools seek.

At Buena Vista University in Iowa, teaching students are being given the same advice. Susan Kalsow, dean of the school of education, told Radio Iowa that she steers students towards areas which still have teacher shortages.

"School districts will tell us they have hundreds of applications for an elementary opening," she was quoted as saying on Radio Iowa, "and yet they have a need for special education or secondary math, secondary science, ESL, anything that has something to do with students with special needs."

In a related story, the San Mateo County Times in California reports that EnCorps, a nonprofit teacher-training organization, is actively recruiting people with math, science and technology careers to become teachers in low-income areas. The nonprofit estimated that the state will need an additional 33,000 math and science teachers to replace the many expected to retire within the next decade.

"Since 2001-02, we've seen a continuous decline in the number of individuals who go into teacher-preparation programs," said Margaret Gaston, president of the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, who was quoted in the San Mateo County Times. "Finding new and creative ways to attract, prepare and support teachers is becoming more and more important."

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