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The number of Americans training to become teachers has dropped by a third since 2010, and it's creating a critical educator shortage that will affect every state

© AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

By Allana Akhtar, Business Insider

People aren't choosing to become teachers anymore. 

The number of students enrolled in teacher prep programs decreased by one-third since 2010, representing a drop of 40,000 aspiring educators learning the trade. The data comes from the liberal-leaning think tank Center for American Progress, which analyzed data from the Department of Education. 

Aspiring teachers take prep programs as part of their overall training. Many educators take these programs alongside a bachelor's or master's degree. 

While nationwide figures can be limited because most teachers choose to work within 15 miles of their hometown, the report also found a decrease in teacher training enrollment in all but four states. In some states, such as Michigan, Oklahoma, and Illinois, enrollment declined by more than 50%. 

The drop in teacher training enrollment suggests that issues plaguing the profession - from low pay to dwindling funding - has discouraged potential educators, exacerbating the nationwide teacher shortage. 

Data suggests that not enough teaching jobs have been created to keep up with growing student enrollment as the population increases. A report from the Economic Policy Institute found the country lost 60,000 jobs in education after the Great Recession of 2008. 

While the economy revitalized, education continued to lag, the EPI found. Currently, there is a shortfall of 307,000 teaching jobs in the US - meaning there are hundreds of thousands of educators needed right now. 

Other data centers have similarly staggering estimates of the teacher shortage crisis. The independent research group Learning Policy Institute estimated a 112,000 teacher shortage in 2018. 

Part of the reason many rejected the education field was due to low pay. Teachers get paid nearly 21% less on average than other professions that require a college degree. Thirty years ago, the pay gap was just 2% less. 

Public investment in education is lower than it was in 2008 in 29 states, which resulted in many teachers needing to spend hundreds of their own dollars for school supplies. One in six teachers work multiple jobs to make ends meet, according to Pew Research Center.

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