Campus News

Education dean discusses decline in students seeking education careers

Denise Spangler

Denise Spangler, dean of the Mary Frances Early College of Education, was quoted in Alive to discuss the national teacher shortage facing the United States after the return to in-person instruction.

“The narrative about how wonderful teachers are disappeared pretty quickly,” Spangler said.

A survey including 6,000 teachers in Georgia found that more than half of the teachers wouldn’t recommend becoming a teacher. Spangler discussed how this was leading to a 33% decrease in the number of university students who were pursuing elementary school careers.

“Our students are hearing negative discourse about being a teacher from teachers,” Spangler said. “There’s a sense that teachers don’t have the autonomy in the classroom that they once had.”

The issue is multifaceted, including no longer feeling that standardized tests are accurate ways to show student performance, and the low pay considering all the responsibilities of modern teachers only exacerbated by the pandemic and move to online instruction.

“Teachers have become all things,” Spangler said. “Many districts don’t have the funds to have social workers and school nurses, or not enough.”

“A different emphasis on assessment and accountability would help, and more professional support,” she added.