In the 1950s, an alarming percentage of Ohio public school classrooms were staffed with teachers holding temporary certificates and cadet certificates. Temporary certificates were issued to persons with a degree in a field other than education upon the request of a superintendent. The cadet program permitted certification of a person with at least 56 semester hours in that teacher education program.

In many low wealth school districts, a high percentage of the teachers had less than full certification. Low pay and less than desirable working conditions discouraged college students from entering teacher horizon preparation programs and thus teacher shortages were the norm.

Over the years, major advancements in teacher education programs, certification (licensure) standards, teachers’ salaries and working conditions have upgraded the teaching profession; hence, more college students were attracted to teaching as a profession.

But in the last few years, beginning particularly with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal act and the copycat state legislative acts, the teaching profession has become less attractive. Additionally, attempts to de-professionalize teaching by some in the corporate community and major foundations have taken an additional toll. Fads like Teach For America besmirch the profession. Numerous current teachers are not encouraging their students and their own children from entering a teacher education program.

In Ohio, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 6,759 persons graduated in 2003-04 with a bachelor’s degree in teaching from Ohio colleges and universities (12.2% of the total). In 2014-15, only 4,983 teacher candidates graduated from these institutions (7.3% of the total).

A March 31 Columbus Dispatch article by Mary Mogan Edwards provides additional insights.

William Phillis
Ohio E & A

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