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Changing Face of Teachers

Changing Face of Teachers

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Published by Chris Stewart

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Published by: Chris Stewart on Dec 08, 2012
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 A Review of Research
A publication of the University of PennsylvaniaGraduate School of Education (Penn GSE)www.gse.upenn.edu/review
Fall 2010
 Vol. 7, No. 3
The ChangingFace of theTeaching Force
By Richard Ingersoll and Lisa Merrill
ow has the elementary and secondaryteaching force changed in recentdecades? Have the kinds of individualsgoing into teaching changed? And, if so, how?To answer these questions we recentlyembarked on an exploratory research project totry to discover what kinds of changes have, orhave not, occurred over the past severaldecades in the teaching force. We were sur-prised by what we found, in part because someof the most dramatic trends appear to be littlenoticed by researchers, policymakers, and thepublic.To conduct our study, we analyzed datafrom the largest and most comprehensive
Continued on page 3
Updates on Research and Publicationsfrom the Penn GSE Faculty
is produced three times annuallyby the University of PennsylvaniaGraduate School of Education,3700 Walnut StreetPhiladelphia, PA 19104-6216editor@gse.upenn.eduReproduction of these articlesrequires the written permissionof the editor. ©2010 by theTrustees of the University of Pennsylvania. Please contactthe editor for references.
Tom Kecskemethy
Director, Communications
Nancy Brokaw
Contributing Writers
Liza Hill Wayne KobylinskiNondiscrimination Statement
The University of Pennsylvania values diversity andseeks talented students, faculty and staff fromdiverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity,religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenshipstatus, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected class status in the administrationof its admissions, financial aid, educational or ath-letic programs, or other University-administeredprograms or in its employment practices. Questionsor complaints regarding this policy should be direct-ed to the Executive Director of the Office of  Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs,Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Suite228, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106; or (215) 898-6993 (Voice) or (215) 898-7803 (TDD).
on the cover:
Lily Composition #3
, Anne Froehling,Steinhart Plaza, Bronze, 1993
 A Review of Research
   p    h   o   t   o  :    M   a   r    k    W    i    l    l    i   e
 A Review of Research
source of information on teachers available—the Schools and Staffing Survey(SASS) and its supplement, the Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS).*Conducted bythe National Center for Education Statistics, the SASS administers survey question-naires to a random sample of about 50,000 educators representing all types of teachers, schools, and districts and all 50 U.S. states. Unlike most large-scale sur-veys in the field, SASS focuses on teachers rather than students.Six cycles of SASS have been administered over a 20-year period—1987-88,1990-91, 1993-94, 1999-2000, 2003-04, and 2007-08. We decided to take advantageof the depth and duration of these data to explore our questions about the demo-graphic status of the teaching profession. Below, we summarize four of the mostintriguing trends we found.For each of the trends two large questions immediately arise: First of all, why? What are the reasons for, and sources of, the trend? Second, so what? What are theimplications, and consequences, of the trend? There are numerous possibleanswers to each of these questions and we have been able to test and rule in, orout, a number of them. But our goal has not been to get closure on either set of questions—that would require far more extensive analyses than we have yet done.Our objective this far has been largely descriptive and suggestive, rather thanexplanatory or evaluative. In short, at this point we ask more questions than we areable to answer. Hopefully, in time, further research can rectify that.
Trend 1: Ballooning 
The Census Bureau indicates that K-12 teaching has long been one of thelargest occupational groups in the nation (if not the largest), and it is growing evenlarger. Data from the U.S. Department of Education show the numbers of both stu-dents and teachers grew throughout the 20th century. But the rate of growth forboth groups began to soar in the late 1940s with the post-World War II baby boom.By 1970, student enrollments peaked and then declined until the mid 1980s. At thesame time, the numbers of teachers similarly peaked and then leveled off. By themid 1980s, student enrollments again began to grow—the baby boomlet—continu-ing to the present. During this period, the teaching force has also been increasing.The rate of these increases has not matched those of the baby boom years—withone large difference. The rate of increase for teachers has far outpaced the rate of increase for students—the numbers of teachers are going up far faster than are thenumbers of students.
The Changing Face of theTeaching Force
By Richard Ingersoll and Lisa Merrill
Continued from page 1
*This summary draws from an earlier article, “Who’s Teaching Our Children?”, which appeared in
 Educational Leadership, 67
. Support for our research came from a grant to the National Commission on Teaching and America’sFuture from the Gates Foundation and from a grant from the Teacher Professional Continuum Program of theNational Science Foundation. Henry May and David Perda provided valuable assistance with the data analyses.

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