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5 Facts About Today's Teacher Workforce

May 16, 2017 • Zach DiSchiano

A new report on teacher demographics, backgrounds, experience, and work locations found that today’s teaching force is larger, more diverse, and less experienced than ever.

The report, conducted by Richard Ingersoll, a professor of education and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, and Lisa Merrill of New York University's Research Alliance for New York City Schools, studied the U.S. teacher workforce from 1987 to 2012 and found the number of teachers has grown significantly during the 25-year stretch.

Below are five takeaways from the report:

  1. The workforce is growing rapidly
    • The teacher workforce grew by 46 percent from 1987 to 2012. Female teachers increased by 56 percent, while males saw just a 22 percent growth, meaning the profession continues to be dominated by women.
  2. ESL and special education jobs have exploded
    • The number of ESL teachers has increased by 1,088 percent in the past 25 years, while special education teachers have nearly doubled (92 percent increase).
  3. Teachers are less experienced
    • In the last 25 years, the number of beginning teachers (those with five or fewer years experience) has grown by 43 percent. Public school teachers are more experienced than private school teachers—of the beginning teachers, 21 percent work in public schools while 27 percent work in private schools. 
  4. The workforce is becoming more diverse
    • There are more than 650,000 minority teachers—a 104 percent increase from 1988. The number of Asian teachers increased by 209 percent, while the number of Hispanic teachers saw a 270 percent increase. The number of black teachers increased by 25 percent.
  5. High-poverty schools saw the biggest growth in teachers
    • In schools where at least 75 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, the teaching force has increased by approximately 325 percent. The number of teachers working in low-poverty public schools decreased by 20 percent.

The report analyzed nationwide trends, so the numbers could differ slightly from the workforce in Texas. We do know there is a great demand for ESL and bilingual teachers across the state and the number of bilingual and ESL teachers grows as Texas student enrollment grows. 

The report on changes in the U.S. teacher workforce used the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Schools and Staffing Survey to analyze changes in the elementary and secondary teaching force during the 1987–2012 time frame. For more information on the report, click here.

Tagged: Employment, Staffing, "Teacher shortage"