What’s Driving These Projections?
Lots of factors are used to arrive at these projected job growth rates, but there are two key assumptions that play a primary role:
- Overall student enrollment will increase from 2010 to 2020.
- The student-to-teacher ratio will continue to decline.
The first supposition is very much related to general population growth, and assumes that homeschooling and other up-and-coming alternative education options won’t put that much of a dent in traditional school enrollment. It also incorporates drop-out rates and other factors that some may not agree with, but in general, I believe that most people are willing to accept that our nation will have more primary and secondary students in 2020 than it did in 2010.
However, in my mind, the second assumption is highly questionable. The idea here is that if the student-to-teacher ratio keeps going down, each teacher will be responsible for fewer students. So, even if enrollment numbers remained constant, we’d need more teachers to accommodate the same number of students. With looming budget cuts, advances in technology and the constant push to learn how to do more with less, can we really assume that this ratio will continue to decline?
In fact, without a significant increase in education funding, isn’t it more likely that this ratio will start to rise again? And, if the student-to-teacher ratio does increase rather than decline, how will that affect projected teaching job growth rates?