Educators are currently in especially high demand, but fewer and fewer high school graduates want to become teachers, a new report finds.
The number and percentage of high school graduates reporting they are interested in pursuing education majors dropped from 7 percent in 2010 to 5 percent in 2014, according to a report released this week from ACT Inc. The report is based on a survey of 1.85 million 2014 high school graduates who took the ACT college entrance exam.
The graphic below, from the report, demonstrates this drop in interest.
Teens' disinterest in teaching is problematic, the report suggests, given that the number of elementary and secondary school teaching positions is expected to grow by 14 percent between 2010 and 2021.
“The drop in the number of our young people who want to become an educator is truly alarming,” ACT President Jon Erickson said in a press release. “Unless something changes quickly, the supply of new teachers may not meet the future demand.”
ACT test-takers who said they were interested in going into education tended to have lower than average test scores. The report recommends improving teacher benefits to help attract high-achieving students to the field, and encouraged colleges and universities to suggest education to top-performing students who haven't declared a major.
“We must be concerned not only with increasing the overall number of students who plan to become educators but also with attracting more of the best and brightest students to the field," Erickson noted in the release.
The report does not explore why fewer high school graduates are interested in pursuing careers in education.
In light of these discouraging results, we asked educators on Twitter why they're happy with their jobs and why they might advise their students to follow their career paths. Here is some of what they told us:
@HuffPostEdu Because you'll learn as much as you teach. You'll get as much as you give (more). And b/c we can fix education from the inside!
— Sarah Nichols (@SarahJNichols) April 24, 2015
@HuffPostEdu most others affect 1 at a time, teachers affect 25+ each class period - a great responsibility that can't be taken lightly.
— Sarah Elizabeth (@SaeMetcalf) April 24, 2015
@HuffPostEdu Because it is an amazing profession! It is most interesting to create learning environments with happy and engaging Students..
— Mark Urech (@mark_urech) April 24, 2015
@HuffPostEdu It is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Working with young children gives you an opportunity to see the world anew!
— joan martlew (@JoanMartlew) April 24, 2015
@HuffPostEdu No better place to have an impact on the future, one student at a time.
— GaryGruber (@GaryGruber) April 24, 2015
@HuffPostEdu We need to be the change that we want to see in the world, to borrow Gandhi's phrase.
— Christopher Trombly (@CETrombly) April 24, 2015
@HuffPostEdu 'unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not!' Dr Seuss
— Laura McCarthy (@ilaura) April 24, 2015
@HuffPostEdu yes! I wouldn't change a thing. The relationship I have with my students & the chance to watch them learn is so rewarding.
— EL C. (@432elc) April 23, 2015
@HuffPostEdu I love teaching, mainly becasue I love watching teens develop their own views of the world and ways of thinking.
— Taryn DeVries (@TdevriesHHS) April 23, 2015
@HuffPostEdu Love my job. 28 years strong. No better place to be than with the kids.
— Julie Herwixk (@JherwickJulie) April 23, 2015
— Beth Foraker (@inclusionchick) April 24, 2015
Earlier on HuffPost:
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