How Has the Teaching Force Changed?

A recent study, “A Quarter Century of Changes in the Elementary and Secondary Teaching Force: From 1987 to 2012,” outlines the trends in the U.S. teaching force over 25 years. Key findings show that the teaching force is larger, less experienced, and more diverse than it was in the 1980s.


The teaching force has grown by 46%, but general elementary, vocational-technical education, and art/music had below-average growth rates. Growth rates also differed among types of schools; the teaching force in high-poverty schools showed major growth, but low-poverty schools saw a decline. Private schools saw a higher rate of growth than public schools.

When the study began in 1987-1988, teachers most often had about 15 years of experience, but by the 2007-2008 school year, teachers were most often in their first year of teaching. (Click here to see our blog on why so many teachers leave before retirement) The study also showed that while minority teachers are still underrepresented, they’ve shown growth in both number of teachers and proportion of total teachers.

At Elevate Teachers, we’re encouraged to see the growth of teachers in high-poverty schools and the increase in minority teachers. However, some of these statistics concern us. We hope to see more experienced teachers having the support and morale to stay longer, and would like to see a higher rate of growth in public schools in the future.

What do you think? Leave your comments below.

Click here to see the study