What to Make of Declining Enrollment in Teacher Preparation Programs

Research Rundown Issue: January '20
Publisher: Center for American Progress
Date Published: December '19


Since 2010, enrollment in teacher preparation has declined by more than one-third, with some states experiencing drastic declines of more than 50%. And despite efforts to increase teacher diversity, enrollment among black and Latino teacher candidates has actually dropped by 25%—and by 50% for Native American teacher candidates. Despite this overall downward trend, alternative preparation programs—specifically those not based in institutes of higher education—experienced an enrollment increase of more than 40% between 2010 and 2018, with some states seeing even bigger jumps, indicating a clear demand for these programs.

Why This Matters in Minnesota

Minnesota schools continue to face shortages of teachers of color and teachers in specific fields, and recently made a set of statewide policy changes to create new pathways to the classroom. In 2019, the Learning Disabilities Association of Minnesota launched the state’s first alternative teacher preparation program, followed shortly by a second program at Lakes Country Service Cooperative. These tailored programs help fill significant needs for special education teachers and CTE teachers in Greater Minnesota, respectively. TNTP and Southwest West Central Service Cooperative are also seeking program approval. Minnesota is still home to a few non-conventional pathways—like Teach for America and Grow Your Own programs—that are run through institutions of higher education.

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