Texas schools facing drastic teacher shortage

Kay Lynn Moran with students at HCC-Northeast Learning Center

WANTED; 30,000 qualified teachers to begin teaching in Texas schools this fall; 13,000 vacancies in Houston.

This could be the ad running in papers this summer. It may become front-page headlines if statewide projections for this fall are accurate; and this is just the beginning of a growing crisis of teacher shortages across the state and nation.

“In the baby-boomer generation, women basically had three choices for careers in the workforce,” noted Kay Lynn Moran, chair of Guided Studies/Teacher Prepara-ion/TASP at Houston Community College System-Northeast College. “They could become teachers, nurses, or secretaries.”

“A lot of them became teachers,” she added. “Now, every career field is open to women, and only a small percentage of the younger generation is going into the teaching profession.”

“As retirement begins to claim thousands of baby-boomer teachers each year, there is no one to replace them,” she concluded.

To fight this growing dilemma, the federal government is pumping money into Title II education grants that can be used for massive teacher recruitment as well as research programs aimed at restructuring teacher education programs.

In addition, colleges, universities and community colleges are forming partnerships to create seamless transitions from high school to community college Teacher Preparation Programs to bachelor degree/teacher certification programs at four-year colleges or universities.

“Everyone involved in teacher education has a new perspective,” Moran said. “We understand that our responsibility is to get the word out about the shortage and to get teachers into the field.”

For example, at a recent “Future Teachers Night” sponsored by HCCS-Northeast College, representatives from seven area colleges who have partnership arrangements with HCCS, manned displays highlighting their incentive programs for future teachers. Programs such as the one offered by Prairie View A & M, where students who sign a declaration agreement to become a teacher are paid 1/2 of their tuition while attending HCC-Northeast and full tuition while attending Prairie View.

Of the 120 future teachers attending the event, nearly one-third were graduating high school students; one-third older students thinking about beginning college and HCCS graduating students ready to transfer to four-year institutions; and one-third degreed professionals from other fields wanting to. switch careers and become teachers.

For more information about the teaching profession, HCC-Northeast’s Teacher Preparation Program, or to enroll for summer courses in education call 713-718-8051.