Wisconsin’s teacher pool is dwindling. In 2015, there were an average of 3.2 candidates per vacancy, down from 6.6 candidates in 2012, according to Wisconsin Education Career Access Network data. State Rep. Jill Billings reports in the LaCrosse Tribune, “A few years ago, schools that were able to get 150 applications for an open position are now seeing 30 to 50 applications instead.” Fox6Now includes substantiating specifics: In the Mequon-Thiensville, the district has an average of 16.9 applicants per vacancy, down from 31 applicants in 2012, the data indicate.
Enrollments in Wisconsin teacher preparation programs are down, from 12,323 students in 2008-’09 to 8,887 in 2013-’14, the most recent year available (source). Viterbo University of La Crosse saw a drop in education enrollment from 121 students in spring 2011 to 60 students in the spring of 2015. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse saw overall enrollment increase from 2011 to 2014, but in the same years education saw a 10 percent drop (source). Among the state’s teacher preparation programs, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh saw the steepest enrollment decline, at 1,526, or 70%, since 2008-’09. Same source)
It is also increasingly hard to retain teachers, with many teachers leaving at the five or six year mark. In the 2014 school year, only about 4 in 10 Wisconsin school districts had teaching staffs with on average at least 15 years’ experience — down from 6 in 10 in the 2011 school year.
Connection for English Language Arts/ NCTE:
NCTE has repeatedly signalled a value for highly trained teachers (among them, a 2004 Guideline to Prepare Teachers with Knowledge on Child and Adolescent Lit; 2005 CEE Position about Technology; 1998 Resolution on Licensure). Wisconsin and the nation must consider and abate factors that are leading to teacher shortages.