July 5, 2009

This Wall St. Journal article also says that despite the cutbacks in teaching jobs even for programs like Teach for America, the number of students working toward teaching certifications is rising:

Jacqueline Frommer thought her career path was set when she landed her dream job last summer teaching fourth grade in Pompano Beach, Fla. Last month, she got laid off. Ms. Frommer, 25 years old, said in college she was told teaching was among the steadiest jobs around. Now "there is no job security anymore," she said.

In a sign of how severe the employment downturn is getting, even schoolteachers, an occupation once viewed as recession proof, are feeling the pain.

Education jobs grew steadily in recent years amid rising enrollment and government efforts to reduce class sizes. Now the increase in teaching positions has leveled off as school districts struggle with budget pressures. The demographic bulge caused by children of baby boomers -- the so-called echo boom -- has also begun to wane.

Los Angeles Unified School District laid off 2,500 teachers this spring. Broward County, Fla., Ms. Frommer's district, cut 400 school jobs. Rochester, N.Y., laid off 300 teachers.

Other districts have avoided cuts by negotiating pay reductions and enacting furloughs and hiring freezes. In June, education jobs actually ticked up 0.5% nationally to just under 3.1 million on a seasonally adjusted basis. But the number of education-related jobs has declined in six of the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That contrasts with annual growth of about 3% over the past 15 years in the education field. In the past year, education jobs have grown at about half that rate. Most in demand are teachers in math, science and special education. College instructors have also been in high demand.

Many of the layoffs came in June as teachers prepared to say goodbye to their students for summer. Union and state rules require schools to give teachers notice before the end of the school year if their jobs won't be there in the fall.

Heather Clutter, an elementary teacher in Desert Hot Springs, Calif., learned 15 minutes before the end of the last day of school in early June that she was one of 200 teachers being laid off in the area -- just weeks after learning she was pregnant.

"You always think of teaching as a safe profession. Once you get in, you're there, you'll be able to retire," she said. "Not so much right now."

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