Bad news continues to roll in for those watching the flow of people into the teaching pipeline: A report from ACT Inc. says that young people’s interest in teaching continues to shrink.
The study asked students taking the 2014 ACT college-entrance exam to identify future career interests. Some 57 percent of graduating high school students in the United States took that test. It found that, overall, students are less interested in becoming teachers than they were in 2010. That year, 7 percent of test-takers expressed interest in education majors. In 2014, that number dropped to 5 percent.
Digging into the report, which was released last month, shows where the drop comes from, as the overall group is divided into subgroups based on education interests. There are actually comparable gains, for instance, among test-takers interested in becoming school administrative- and support-staff members, a category that includes such roles as principal and counselor, as well as those interested in being student-population-specific educators (elementary, high school, etc.). The big drops come in those interested in education majors generally, and in subject-specific teaching.
The study also finds that students who are interested in an education major perform lower than average on the ACT.
The findings also point to a lack of diversity among students interested in pursuing education and a continuing shortage of male teachers. Nearly three-quarters of the respondents interested in education are female. That share rises to nearly 95 percent among students interested in early-childhood and elementary education.
A version of this article appeared in the May 06, 2015 edition of Education Week as Survey: Teacher Pipeline Still Shrinking