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Teacher Workforce Trends

The elementary and secondary teaching force represents one of the largest occupational groups in the United States. One of Professor Ingersoll’s research projects explores the ways in which the demographics of this workforce have changed or remained stable in recent decades. The results show significant shifts in the makeup of the teaching force since the 1980s, yet even the most dramatic trends appear to have been little noticed by researchers, policymakers, and the public. Most notably, Professor Ingersoll’s study showed that the U.S. teaching force has become larger, older, less experienced, more female, more racially and ethnically diverse, and more unstable. Teachers have remained consistent in academic ability.

Professor Ingersoll published the results of this study in 2012 and has updated it as new waves of national data have been released, co-authoring these publications with doctoral students Lisa Merrill, Dan Stuckey, Greg Collins, and Brandon Harrison. A 2021 report in the journal Education Sciences is the most comprehensive to date. These articles and reports have been cited more than 1,000 times and downloaded more than 11,000 times from the University of Pennsylvania’s Scholarly Commons website. This research has been presented to a wide variety of audiences and has also attracted considerable media attention.


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