What ED’s latest statistics tell us about America’s teaching force

Multiracial teacher and children in science lab

As districts and states throughout the country struggle to fill crucial teaching positions, it’s helpful to understand where the current teaching force stands, and how much has (or hasn’t) changed in recent years.

For the first time in four years, the U.S. Department of Education has released updated statistics about America’s teacher workforce.

As Liana Loewus reports in a recent Education Week video report detailing the survey, while the student makeup of America’s classrooms has changed in recent years, the makeup up of the teaching workforce has not.

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Here’s some important takeaways to keep in mind from Education Week’s report:

There are 3.8 million public school teachers in the United States

This accounts for 400,000 more teachers joining the workforce from four years ago. But, as we’ve seen, this increase falls short of the amount of teachers needed nationally.

Teachers are overwhelmingly white and female

Despite growing diversity among students, most teachers are white (80 percent) and female (76 percent). There are signs, however slight, of growing diversity. The percentage of white teachers is down 2 percent from four years ago, while the number of Hispanic teachers has grown from 8 percent four years ago, to 9 percent. The percentage of teachers who are women grew from 76 percent four years ago to 77 percent this year.

The average teacher is a veteran of the classroom

According to ED data, the average teacher is 42 years old and has around 14 years of classroom experience. This might not come as much of a surprise, considering how badly schools are struggling to attract young teachers.

Teachers still work really hard

The average teacher works about 53 hours per week and makes around $55,000 a year. Despite misconceptions about short work days and summers off, the truth is teachers work long hours, both inside and outside the classroom.

For more on what the latest statistics tell us about America’s teaching workforce, check out the full Education Week report below:

What do you think of the latest teacher numbers? What steps is your district or school taking to recruit talented educators? Tell us in the comments.

About the Author

Todd Kominiak
Todd is Managing Editor of TrustED. Email: tkominiak@k12insight.com.

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