Study predicts severe Tenn. teacher shortage

By The Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — University of Tennessee researchers predict 40 percent of current teacher positions across the state could be open within the next four years.

A study released Tuesday anticipates an acute shortage of teachers beginning next year, and a projected 31,431 teacher openings by fall of 2013, The Commercial Appeal reports.

UT economist Bill Fox says the state has increased the number of math classes and science classes that students must take, as well as lowered pupil-to-teacher ratios.

But it hasn’t thoroughly examined the implications of policies being legislated.

He says officials needs to assess the “capacity to provide the quality of education that we’re mandating, based on the traditional routes of finding teachers.”

Positions most affected will be in math, science, and special and vocational education.