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Enrollment in teacher prep programs declines

Fewer people are enrolling in programs to become teachers in Colorado, according to the latest report by the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

The annual report on state teacher preparation programs found the drop in enrollment cut across age groups and program type. The decline also impacted specialized fields that already experience a deficit of qualified candidates, including science and special education teachers and bilingual educators.

Teacher preparation programs have come under fire in recent years, with critics saying that acceptance requirements are too weak and that programs fail to prepare teacher candidates for the classroom.

Programs that saw particularly drastic declines (upwards of 25 percent) include Colorado State University in Fort Collins, University of Denver, online-based University of Phoenix and Jones International University.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • One specialty experienced a slight increase: mathematics.
  • Teacher librarian and instructional technology programs saw the largest declines, of 50 percent or more.
  • Minority students were somewhat underrepresented, compared with their representation in other four-year higher education programs in the state.

The full report is available here.