Future good for Ohio teachers in math, science, and special education

BEREA, Ohio - Courtney DeSchepper has wanted to be a special education teacher ever since she was in the second grade.  She has almost reached her goal.

The Baldwin Wallace University senior was working on her student teaching lesson plan Wednesday.

"It makes me sad and upset that there's not going to be as many opportunities," she said.

There is plenty of demand for special education teachers like DeSchepper, as well as for math, science, and foreign language instructors. However, there are many more early childhood teachers than for which there are positions, according to Dr. Karen Kaye, chairperson of the Division of Education at Baldwin Wallace.

"We're very up front with them [students] about their chances of being employed as an early childhood teacher," she said. "We encourage them to add additional credentials that might open up more doors to them. We tell them your chances are very good if you're in science or math."

Kaye said the Ohio Department of Education is expecting Ohio school districts to need 700 fewer teachers a year in the coming years. 

"There are fewer positions because districts can't afford to fund them or there are fewer children," she said.  "People are moving out." 

At the same time, 6,000 Ohio teachers are expected to retire every year.  However, Kaye said the number of positions those retirements will create will depend on the areas those teachers are from and student enrollment.

"The numbers give me some optimism," she said.

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