With the September employment data in hand, we can look at the number of teachers who are starting work or going back to school this year. The number of teachers and education staff fell dramatically during the Great Recession and has failed to get anywhere near its prerecession level, let alone the level that would be required to keep up with an expanding student population. In addition to losses from the Great Recession, the pursuit of austerity at all levels of government has meant that public education jobs are still 214,000 less than they were eight years ago. Over the last year, the number of teachers rose by 37,700. While this is clearly a positive sign, if we include the number of jobs that should have been created just to keep up with enrollment, we are currently experiencing a 372,000 job shortfall in public education. The costs of a significant teacher gap are measurable: larger class sizes, fewer teacher aides, fewer extracurricular activities, and changes to the curricula. Shortsighted austerity measures at all levels of government hit children in today’s classrooms.
– Economic Policy Institute