Indiana Legislature To Look At Statewide Teacher Shortage

INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO): A legislative study committee may take a look at why fewer Hoosiers are becoming teachers. 

The Indiana Department of Education says 1,000 fewer teachers got their first licenses in 2013 compared to four years earlier. 

Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers says the numbers are concerning, but says the commission is drilling down to see just what subjects and regions are experiencing shortages. 

Senate Education Chairman Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) and House counterpart Robert Behning (R-Indianapolis) are chair and vice chair of an education study committee, and have asked legislative leaders to add the shortfall to their list of topics. 

Teachers' unions suggest sweeping changes instituted by then-Governor Mitch Daniels have made the profession less attractive. Kruse agrees, but not for the same reason — he says teachers who are openly disgruntled by the changes may end up turning off students who had been considering teaching careers. 

Lubbers says several other factors could contribute to the falloff, including salaries. While she says teachers don't choose their profession for the money, the ability to earn more elsewhere may be too much of a lure. 

State school superintendent Glenda Ritz has said she plans to name her own commission to look into the issue.