New ACES report shows colleges producing fewer teachers
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A new state report shows our colleges and universities are producing fewer educators in nearly all subjects.
The Alabama Commission on the Evaluation of Services (ACES) report goes back to 2010 saying, “Colleges of Education graduated 1,460 teachers (bachelor elementary) but, by 2021, production dropped by a third to 1,012.”
The number of educators graduating has dropped every year for the past decade.
“The state really needs to address that or we’re going to have a lot of uneducated people in this state,” said Jim Purcell, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education executive director. “I think that we’re all aware that there is a problem, we just haven’t found the one thing that actually has changed the needle too much.”
Purcell says one reason for the drop is the difference in the economy. Back in 2008-2010, when many industries weren’t hiring, schools still needed teachers.
Now, a decade later, Purcell says it’s the opposite. Most industries are hiring so people are finding other jobs.
“There’s lots of opportunities for people to find jobs in our economy and they may think other things are more lucrative or less stressful,” he explained.
He says this is especially true in math and science. Students are choosing other pathways for their interests in STEM. That’s why Purcell says the state is working on better incentives like loan forgiveness. He says the legislature has also increased salaries and created a premium for teachers in particular subjects.
Another part of the report shows that only 6 of our 14 universities have first-time Praxis pass rate for elementary education majors over 50%. This means most with an elementary education degree are not passing the test the first time.
“I’m not a fan of the test for what that is,” said Purcell. “I think it measures something. It may not measure exactly what we want to have our teachers to know.”
The Alabama Board of Education made some changes in July to the Praxis requirements so if a student scores below passing, they can still be certified depending on their GPA and professional development hours.
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