Fewer teachers emerging from Iowa colleges - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fewer teachers emerging from Iowa colleges

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by Bryan Goettel

KWWL - You've likely heard about the perks of going into teaching. The reward of working with kids and who wouldn't want to have summers off?

But some in Iowa feel those perks aren't luring the same numbers they used to.

Talk with the chair of Teaching and Learning at the University of Iowa's College of Education and you'll hear one thing.

"In fact at the University of Iowa, we have a kind of embarrassment of riches, in the sense that we have really more students wanting to be school teachers than we have available seats to provide," Chair of Teaching and Learning Peter Hlebowitsh said.

But from Iowa's director of the Department of Education, you'll hear another.

"We are concerned about the number of individuals who are interested in teaching as a profession," Department of Education Director Judy Jeffrey said.

So what's the right answer? It's all about where you look. A state education report shows that Iowa colleges are turning out fewer teachers.

The areas of concern almost everyone seems to agree on: at the high school level in math, science, and special ed.

"The fact of the matter is the number of students who apply is significantly smaller in number there," Hlebowitsh said.

"It's a concern that I think has always been there," Iowa City schools Superintendent Lane Plugge said. "I think it's growing."

Plugge says Iowa City is still receiving a lot of applications for most positions.

But to Jeffrey, the trend is concerning, especially for a state that has long taken pride in having some of the best K-12 education in the country.

"In order to reach those high achievement levels we all want and expect, we absolutely have to have a quality teacher in every classroom in this state," Jeffrey said. 

The University of Iowa hopes to have the Iowa Internship Program operational by next fall.

Working in conjunction with the Department of Education, the goal is to try and lure working professionals in the fields of math and science into teaching.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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