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Teacher-Preparation Enrollments Continue to Fall, But Less Steeply


Newly released data show that the numbers both of enrollments in—and completers of—teacher-preparation programs continued to decline through 2014, but not as sharply as a few years before that. 

It's just one of the many important data points you can find in the U.S. Department of Education's most recent set of teacher-preparation data, released March 18. (The data are collected under Title II of the Higher Education Act and include state-by-state report cards. Do spend some time exploring the site.)

Below is a graphic illustrating the total number of enrollments in teaching programs between 2008 and 2014, as well as the number of "program completers"—those who have successfully completed all elements of their programs and, ostensibly, could be recommended for a teaching certificate. (Not all will actually go on to get one—elsewhere in the Title II collection, you can see how many actual credentials each state handed out.)

UPDATED, 3/23: A few sources requested data from before the recession, so I've added 2008-09 data to the chart below. 

In all, enrollments are down by more than a third from 2009-10—the height of enrollment over the past decade—while completers are down by a quarter. The period with the heaviest declines seems to have been between 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Of course, this is only the national picture. Some states have been much more heavily hit than others; Nevada, whose Clark County district has struggled mightily to recruit teachers, saw enrollments plummet by 50 percent between 2009 and 2014, the federal data show. 

Also worth keeping in mind, many of the reporting elements included in this federal collection could change under the department's proposed rewrite of the Title II rules, which would also be a lot more prescriptive about how states define poor-performing teacher-preparation programs. We'll continue to keep you up-to-date on those regulations as we know more.

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