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Teacher Demand Has Declined In Most Fields, Survey Finds

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Although there are critical nationwide shortages of mathematics, science, and vocational-education teachers, the general demand for teachers at the elementary and secondary levels has decreased for the second year in a row, according to a national survey of college placement officials released this week.

Trend to Continue

This general "softening" in the demand for teachers will continue for at least the next few years, contends James N. Akin, of the Career Planning and Placement Center at Kansas State University and the director of the survey.

"The decline in the number of education-school graduates [approximately 50 percent within the last 10 years] that resulted in an increased demand for teachers from 1976-80 has been offset in the last two years by the effects of declining enrollments and budget cuts," said Mr. Akin, who has conducted the annual survey since 1976 for the Association for School, College and University Staffing, a 700-member professional organization for university placement officials and school personnel administrators.

Survey Respondents

The survey is based on responses from the placement offices of 65 universities across the country.

States in the Northwest and New England offer the fewest job opportunities for teachers, according to the survey results, while the states in the middle of the country, from Texas to Minnesota, have the highest levels of teacher shortages. The survey also revealed a general oversupply of art, physical-education, and elementary-school teachers.

Mr. Akin predicts that the upturn in the number of annual births that began in the country in the late 1970's will result in greater demand for elementary-school teachers by the end of the 1980's and an increased need for secondary-school teachers by the 1990's.

Shortages Predicted

The National Education Association, in its 1981 report on teacher supply and demand, concurs with Mr. Akin's prediction that more teachers will be needed by the end of this decade, but is more foreboding in its prediction of shortages, saying, "there is an increasing probability of severe shortages for qualified teachers in the late 1980's because fewer of those prepared to teach will elect to enter teaching, a smaller proportion of [college] graduates will have elected to prepare to teach, and larger proportions of present teachers may find attractive employment outside of teaching when the general oversupply of college graduates begins to fall in the late 1980's."--T.T.

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