Study Suggests Indiana Has 'Excess Supply' of Teachers

Posted: Updated:

A new report from Ball State University's Center for Business and Economic Research suggests a perceived shortage of teachers in the state may actually be just the opposite. CBER Director and study author Mike Hicks says Indiana's bank of available teachers appears to be full. He says the only exception might be teachers in science, technology, engineering and math or special education fields. The teacher supply and demand issue is a major topic of discussion among Indiana educators and legislators.

Hicks tells Inside INdiana Business some "hints" of declines exist, but the numbers don't jibe with reality. He says event though teacher's colleges throughout Indiana have been reporting declining program enrollment for "well over a decade," there will be fewer positions available in the teaching job market, "so it's natural that the licensing part of this would see decline."

Hicks believes "part of the ferver" the public is hearing relating to a perceived shortage is connected to education policymakers hoping to make changes in the system.

He says the current pay structure within the profession is leading to an imbalance in the availability of certain teaching disciplines. Hicks says teachers have been compensated in the same way factory floor workers are and their performance and scarcity of skills are not factored into pay. He raised this point to lawmakers studying the issue at the Statehouse. "We have an abundance of teachers who are not in demand in some disciplines and then we have maybe a skills mismatch, and we don't have enough in those critical math, science and technology skills. That's really caused by a compensation system that doesn't tell people where they're needed." Hicks says he thinks this will push legislators to explore the concept of allowing teachers to negotiate their own contracts in the future, so they are not treated as a ""homogeneous commodity."

Overall, the study found Indiana has about 39,000 trained teachers working outside public education. It says 16,000 have jobs that pay less than teaching. It suggests graduates are seeking fields with "better career prospects" than teaching.

Hicks tells Inside INdiana Business hints of a shortage in the state "don't stand up to scrutiny."
  • Perspectives

    • Encourage New College Graduates to Explore Careers Locally

      Summertime is my favorite time of year, with all of the outdoor events, concerts and activities in and around Indianapolis. Summer is also a pivotal time of year for thousands of Indiana college graduates as they look forward to moving into the next phase of their adult lives. For many college graduates, the next step after graduation is starting a career. Many graduates from Indiana colleges and universities have also grown up in Indiana. Now they want a change. Perhaps the lure of...

  • Most Popular Stories

    • (photo courtesy of Taylor University)

      Taylor University President to Resign

      The president of Taylor University is stepping down. The university's board of trustees says Paul Lowell Haines has resigned from the position and will leave the Upland campus August 15. A specific reason for Haines' resignation was not given, however the Board Chair Paige Cunningham noted the move was "neither solicited nor encouraged" by the board. Haines graduated from Taylor in 1975. He later held various positions at the university including vice president for...

    • Plans for the land-based casino were announced in November 2015.

      Hoosier Casino Parents Announce Major Merger

      The Nevada-based parents of several Indiana casinos have announced plans to merge. Eldorado Resorts Inc. (Nasdaq: ERI) says it will acquire the outstanding shares of Caesars Entertainment Corp. (Nasdaq: CZR) in a deal valued at more than $17 billion. Eldorado owns the Tropicana Evansville casino, while Caesars owns the Horseshoe casinos in Hammond and Harrison County, as well as Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville and Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson.

    • Indy to Host National League of Cities Meeting

      Hundreds of Leading Mayors, Councilmembers from Across America Convene in Indianapolis for National League of Cities Meeting Indianapolis will host nearly 300 mayors, councilmembers and other local leaders from across the country for the National League of Cities 2019 Summer Board & Leadership Meeting.

    • (photo courtesy of Dan McGowan)

      New OCRA Pilot Focuses on Quality of Life Mentorship

      A new pilot program from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs aims to boost quality of life collaboration. The Peer program will match two Hoosier communities with one serving as a mentor to the other to help address the challenges associated with putting a quality of life initiative into action. OCRA says the goal of the program is for local leadership to gather best practices and the tools "to advance an innovative vision."

    • Franciscan Health Details Data Breach

      Mishawaka-based Franciscan Health is providing details of a data breach. The health system says an internal investigation found one of its employees accessed the protected health information of about 2,200 patients "without a business reason."  Franciscan says the vast majority of the affected medical records was limited to demographic information such as name, address, email address, date of birth, phone number, gender, race/ethnicity, the last four digits of...