Dr. Matthew Ronfeldt and colleagues from Vanderbilt University will study longitudinal trends over the past 15 years, when enrollments in EPPs have declined, to examine whether or not there have been changes in the kinds of individuals going through the Tennessee P-20 system, entering EPPs, and becoming teachers.
As the numbers of people enrolling in teacher certification programs have steadily declined across the United States, many are now predicting a teacher shortage crisis nationwide. Consistent with national trends, between 2010–11 and 2015–16, Tennessee has experienced substantial statewide declines in educator preparation program (EPP) enrollment (48 percent) and completion (32 percent). During this time, Tennessee has also consistently reported teacher shortages in certain high-needs subject areas (e.g., STEM, special education, English as a second language) and schools (e.g., low-income, rural). While the state has implemented a number of policies and practices to offset teacher shortages, national trends suggest that Tennessee needs to continue to be proactive about assessing and addressing current and future shortages.
In this vein, we propose studying longitudinal trends over the past 15 years, when enrollments in EPPs have declined, to examine whether or not there have been changes in the kinds of individuals going through the Tennessee P-20 system, entering EPPs, and becoming teachers. Specifically, we are interested to know whether the characteristics (e.g. college major, GPA, race/gender) of Tennessee P-20 students that predict enrolling in EPPs and becoming a teacher have changed over time, particularly in high-needs endorsement/subject areas. Given that the proportion of teachers of color in the state has persistently been lower than the proportion of students of color, and the strong commitment to recruiting more teachers of color among state leadership, our analyses will focus on the pipeline for teachers of color.