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NCLB Outrages

Number of Graduates Becoming Teachers Drops

Ohanian Comment: I hate to say this, but speaking as someone who devoted 20 years to the craft of teaching, I can't imagine why anyone would become a teacher today.

By Carla Pineda

Whether the primary culprit is No Child Left Behind or a lack of prestige and low pay, a national shortage of teachers is evident in the classroom.

Jamie Guan, a third-year liberal studies student, said that this might be caused by NCLB and teacher disappointment once they begin working in the classroom. When new teachers enter the workplace and see all the issues they have to deal with such as special education, English as a second language and low funding, they decide teaching is not for them.

“It’s a hard profession. It’s really more than babysitting,” said Guan.

NCLB is a federal education reform plan enforced to ensure that students have qualified teachers and are taught through appropriate methods.

The plan holds school accountable to improve student achievement and it emphasizes highly on standardized testing.

Guan said this measure, while meant to improve the educational system, sometimes hinders students because teachers are required to abide by its regulations and teach in a certain manner but not all students have the same learning style.

Many teachers are restricted to only teaching what students need to know in order to pass the exams and meet state requirements as opposed to making the class environment as fun as possible.

Teachers lose their creativity in the classroom and students are sometimes underestimated because the standardized testing is an inaccurate measure of their potential and capability.

Estella Ballon is an assistant professor in liberal studies who teaches courses that deal with the history, politics and contemporary issues in public education.

She disagrees with NCLB being a cause for the scarcity of educators because it already existed before NCLB was enforced in 2002.

“People are becoming more disillusioned with the job,” said Ballon.

Teacher salaries have always been low but Ballon thinks that this is becoming a more important factor now that college costs are increasing because students are now wondering if all the hard work and college fees are worth it.

“A lot more students are saying this is not for me,” said Ballon.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states in its Occupational Outlook Handbook that “many beginning teachers decide to leave teaching after a year or two - especially those employed in poor, urban schools.”

It also exposes that “most job openings in the future will result from a need to replace the large number of teachers who are expected to retire over the 2004-14 period.”

The OOH also explains that fast growing western states will experience a large enrollment increase resulting in a larger shortage of teachers.

For those that enter the field and disregard the cons, they are driven by their passion for children and teaching.

Guan said that she shares that in common with her classmates in the Teacher Education classes here at Cal Poly.

“I want to impart [my passion] in their learning experience. Hopefully when I reach the point of the classroom I will still have that same passion,” said Guan.


— Carla Pineda
The Poly Post


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