College, nation see decline in education students

Franklin College is seeing a drop in the number of students wanting to become teachers.

But the decrease is not unusual — it’s following the national trend.

According to a study by the U.S Department of Education, there’s been a drastic decrease in the enrollment of students in teacher preparation programs.

It showed that — between 2008 and 2010 — there was a small increase in enrollment in education programs by less than one percent of students.

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-5-02-31-pmBut after 2010, the United States has seen a big drop.

In 2009, there was a record high number of students in teacher preparation programs, sitting at 725,518 students.

In 2014, it was down to 465,536 students — a 35 percent decrease.

Although that study is national, a rough analysis completed by Kirk Bixler, assistant dean of students, shows the same downward slope is also present at Franklin College.

In 2002, the number of education graduates at Franklin College was 40 students and made up about 21 percent of the graduating class.

In 2014, the number of education graduates was down to 22 students—just 10 percent of the graduating class.

Although these are rough numbers because graduation class sizes change, Bixler said the decrease of students wanting to become teachers is still there.

Education professor Linda Airey said the reason behind the decrease varies from person to person.

For her, it’s job strain.

“There is a lot of stress put on teachers today,” Airey said. “Often, teachers do not feel that what they do is valued.”

John Schilawski is the assistant superintendent for nearby Clark-Pleasant Community Schools in Whiteland, a school many Franklin College education graduates are placed at.

Schilawski said he thinks the education enrollment is down because of a negative public perspective.

“In a political perspective, to a degree, it is like a witch hunt for bad teachers,” Schilawski said.

He said that, years ago, politicians across the country started to assume that 5 percent of teachers were bad teachers.

So, he said, state laws were passed to evaluate which teachers were bad teachers.

Schilawski said the concept of getting rid of bad teachers wasn’t bad.

The problem came when the laws were having the 95 percent of teachers, who were highly effective, be persecuted because of the other 5 percent, he said.

“But even after the laws were passed, the statistics were still the same,” he said.

Senior Justice Klene is going into the education field herself.

She said the tests necessary for students to get teaching licenses are one of the big problems.

When Klene was asked what some of the challenges were with going into the education field, she laughed.

“There are so many challenges,” she said.

Klene said her biggest challenge is passing the license tests. Education students have to pass math, social studies, language arts and science tests.

“They are extremely difficult, and are expensive, as well,” she said. “I have to pass these tests in order to be a licensed teacher in Indiana.”

The decrease of students wanting to become teachers means there are multiple teaching positions open for students who do want to go into the field.

According to the same analysis by Bixler, at the 2002 Education Job Fair at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds, teacher job fair, 83 school corporations were in attendance.

This year, 103 school corporations are planning to attend and offer job and internship opportunities to those entering the education field.

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About Matthew Brown 12 Articles

Matthew Brown is a news writer for The Franklin. As you can tell from his column, Matthew likes to write a lot about science, but is a huge fan of writing as well. Matthew hopes to graduate with a double major; a biology one and a journalism one.

This is Matthew’s second year as a staff writer for The Franklin.

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