Report: Demand for Tenn. Teachers to Outpace Supply in 2010-11

Supply will not keep up with demand for teachers in the Tennessee public school system of the future, according to "Supply and Demand for Teachers in Tennessee," a study released this week by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee.

The study, which estimates the supply and demand of public school teachers from academic years 2009-2010 to 2013-2014, was funded by the governor's office, and concludes that the state will need as many as 69,168 teachers, pre-K through 12th grade, in the 2010-2011 school year, but will have only 57,665 teachers on the payroll because of expected teacher departures and growth in the required number of teachers. That will leave as many as 11,503 positions to be filled.

The gap will widen from there, says the CBER. By the 2013-2014 school year, the state will need to fill a cumulative 31,431 teacher positions, or about 40 percent of total teachers.

The CBER study also provides supply-demand gap estimates for a variety of teacher categories, and estimates the largest gaps by percentage to be teachers certified to teach English as a Second Language (ESL); elementary school music, art, and physical education; eighth grade; and vocational education. The smallest percentage gap is estimated for kindergarten teachers.

In making their supply-and-demand predictions, researchers estimated a 2 percent yearly growth rate in the number of school-age children in Tennessee.