New Teachers Needed?

I remember back a few years ago (OK, quite a few years ago), when “they” were saying that Michigan would need a large number of teachers. I was happy as I was just graduating. However, the number of teachers needed never really materialized. I thought of this with the recent articles on how the retirement incentive didn’t work out as the legislators had predicted (that was a real surprise-um, not really). Now comes an article from Rhode Island about how they graduate more teachers than they need. Every year, they graduate about 1,000 teachers. In a good year, they hire 200-250. The teachers who are graduating are specializing in elementary education. Fewer than 50 specialized in math. They are cutting back due to economic pressures and a declining population. Interesting. In light of President Obama’s chatting today, I wonder how many times we are going to hear about the lack of teachers.

Some interesting numbers from the article (

BY THE NUMBERSR.I.’s teachers


Approximate number of adults certified to be teachers in Rhode Island


Total number of certified teachers currently teaching in the state, both public and private schools


Number teaching in R.I. public schools


Approximate number of graduates from the state’s eight traditional teacher training programs each year


Number of graduates who specialized in elementary education in 2008-2009


Number of graduates who specialized in math in 2008-2009


Number of graduates who specialized in secondary special education, mild to moderate in 2008-2009


Number of graduates who specialized in biology in 2008-2009


Number of graduates who specialized in chemistry in 2008-2009


Number of graduates who specialized in physics in 2008-2009

Source: R.I. Dept. of EducationTeacher training in R.I. — A snapshot