UTeach Science and Math Teachers in Demand Despite Education Cutbacks

November 14, 2011

Despite cuts to education spending and teacher layoffs across the nation, Spring 2011 UTeach graduates are in demand.

A recent report from the Office of the President highlighted the loss of nearly 300,000 educator jobs since 2008, representing a more than 7% drop in teacher employment over past three years.

Of the 98 graduates produced so far nationwide by the 13 UTeach programs that began in Fall 2008, however, 76% chose to enter teaching, and all but one of those are still teaching as of Fall 2011. The first full cohort of graduates is expected Spring 2012, four years after the first students enrolled in these programs.

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At The University of Texas at Austin, where the original UTeach program is housed, 75% of the 56 Spring 2011 graduates elected to enter teaching immediately, and all but two were hired as secondary math or science teachers. Despite cuts to education spending and teacher layoffs across Texas, UT Austin continues to produce the largest number of UTeach graduates each semester.

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In the 14 years since its inception, UTeach has graduated 675 students with degrees in mathematics, science, or computer science in addition to secondary teaching certification. Professional entrance and retention information is not yet available for universities replicating UTeach, but at UT Austin, about 90% of these graduates have entered teaching, and about 80% of those are still in schools five years later (compared to around 65% nationally).

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While the recent employment statistics for new UTeach graduates are positive, Michael Marder, UTeach program co-director at UT Austin, cautions that the climate created as a result of widely publicized teacher layoffs, district cutbacks, and larger class sizes could slow the momentum currently being achieved among UTeach programs. “Students across this country urgently need the teachers that UTeach programs are producing. It is critically important that universities, legislators, and school districts come together to figure out how we can best prepare and support the next generation of teachers as the budget climate challenges us all.” 

In addition to the original UTeach program at UT Austin, 25 universities currently are implementing UTeach programs nationwide. Twenty-one of those universities have students enrolled in courses; the other four are preparing to offer the first UTeach course in the coming spring semester. Another cohort will begin UTeach implementation by Fall 2012.

Nationwide enrollment in these programs has reached 5,638 students this fall. Assuming retention rates similar to UT Austin’s at the 21 universities currently enrolling students, approximately 7,400 graduates can be expected nationally by 2018. These graduates are expected to teach about 4 million secondary mathematics, science, and computer science students by that time.

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“Students across this country urgently need the teachers that UTeach programs are producing. It is critically important that universities, legislators, and school districts come together to figure out how we can best prepare and support the next generation of teachers as the budget climate challenges us all.” Michael Marder, UTeach Austin Program Co-Director