Enrollment in teacher education plummets

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, September 23, 2013

It shouldn't surprise anyone that fewer high school graduates are enrolling in Pennsylvania college programs to become teachers, Heather Herger said.

Herger, 31, who grew up in the North Hills, graduated from Penn State with a degree in elementary education in 2004 and spent nine years teaching in Virginia and Maryland and earning a master's degree and national certification before finally landing her dream job teaching fourth grade at Highcliff Elementary School in the North Hills School District this fall.

She said one friend who spent eight years as a substitute here finally gave up and changed careers.

Experts speculate one of the tightest job markets in recent memory, exacerbated by the elimination of about 20,000 public school positions in Pennsylvania since 2008, is starting to exact a toll on colleges and universities that traditionally produced two to five times as many teachers as Pennsylvania schools could absorb.

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