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Projections of Education Statistics to 2011
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Chapter 5
Elementary and Secondary Teachers


Between 1999 and 2011, the number of teachers in elementary and secondary schools is projected to rise. The increase is related to the levels of enrollments and education revenue receipts from state sources per capita. Increases are expected in the numbers of both elementary and secondary teachers. The number of secondary teachers will increase at a faster rate than the number of elementary teachers. The numbers of both public and private teachers are projected to grow. The projections do not take into account increases in the number of teachers due to the effects of initiatives to reduce class sizes.

Three alternative projections of the numbers of elementary and secondary teachers were developed to indicate a range of possible outcomes. These alternatives are based on varying economic assumptions about the growth path for one of the key variables in the public school teacher models-education revenue receipts from state sources per capita. Under the middle alternative, education revenue receipts from state sources per capita is projected to increase by 14 percent between 1999 and 2011. The low alternative assumes that education revenue receipts from state sources per capita will increase by 11 percent over the projection period. The high alternative assumes that education revenue receipts from state sources per capita will increase by 16 percent during this period. The other variables in the teacher model are elementary enrollment and secondary enrollment in public schools. Between 1999 and 2011, secondary enrollment is projected to increase by 5 percent, while elementary will decrease around 2 percent (table 2). The enrollment variables are the same for all three alternatives.

Elementary and Secondary School Teachers

The number of teachers in elementary and secondary schools increased from 2.59 million in 1986 to 3.30 million in 1999, an increase of 27 percent (table 31 and figure 45). Under the middle alternative, the number of teachers is projected to increase to 3.65 million by the year 2011, a 10-percent increase over the projection period. Under the low alternative, the number of teachers is projected to increase to 3.61 million by the year 2011. Under the high alternative, classroom teachers are projected to increase to 3.68 million by the year 2011.

The number of elementary teachers increased from 1.52 million in 1986 to 2.03 million in 1999, an increase of 33 percent (figure 47). Under the middle alternative, the number of elementary teachers is projected to increase to 2.25 million by 2011, an increase of 11 percent from 1999. Under the low alternative, the number of elementary teachers is projected to increase to 2.22 million by the year 2011. Under the high alternative, elementary teachers are projected to increase to 2.27 million by the year 2011.

The number of secondary teachers increased from 1.07 million in 1986 to 1.28 million in 1999, an increase of 19 percent. Under the middle alternative, the number of secondary teachers is projected to increase to 1.40 million by the year 2011, resulting in an increase of 10 percent. Under the low alternative, the number of secondary teachers is projected to increase to 1.39 million by the year 2011. Under the high alternative, secondary teachers are projected to increase to 1.41 million by the year 2011.

Elementary and Secondary Teachers, by Control of School

The number of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools increased from 2.24 million in 1986 to 2.91 million in 1999, an increase of 30 percent (table 31 and figure 49). Under the middle alternative, the number of teachers is projected to increase to 3.21 million by the year 2011, a 10-percent increase over the projection period. Under the low alternative, the number of classroom teachers is projected to increase to 3.17 million by the year 2011. Under the high alternative, classroom teachers are projected to increase to 3.23 million by the year 2011. Projections of elementary and secondary teachers in public schools that have been produced over the past 12 years are less accurate than projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment that NCES has published over the same period. For more information, see table A2.

The number of elementary and secondary teachers in private schools was an estimated 397,000 in 1999. Under the middle alternative, this number is projected to increase to 443,000 by the year 2011, an increase of 12 percent from 1999. Under the low alternative, the number of private school teachers is projected to increase to 438,000 by the year 2011. Under the high alternative, private school teachers are projected to increase to 447,000 by the year 2011.

Pupil/Teacher Ratios

A broad relationship between the number of pupils and teachers can be described by the pupil/teacher ratio. The pupil/teacher ratios presented in table 32 were computed based on elementary and secondary enrollment and the number of classroom teachers by control of institution.

The pupil/teacher ratio in elementary and secondary schools decreased from 17.4 in 1986 to 16.7 in 1989. It increased to 17.1 in 1992 followed by a decline to 16.0 in 1999 (table 32 and figure 51). Under the middle alternative, this ratio is projected to decline to 14.5 by the year 2011. Based on the low and high alternatives, the pupil/teacher ratio in elementary and secondary schools is expected to range between 14.4 and 14.7 in the year 2011.

Although private elementary and secondary teachers represented 12 percent of total elementary and secondary teachers in 1999, private school enrollment was 11 percent of total enrollment. This indicates that private schools have more teachers for a given number of students on average than do public schools; that is, private school pupil/teacher ratios are smaller than public school pupil/teacher ratios.

The pupil/teacher ratio in public elementary and secondary schools decreased from 17.7 in 1986 to 17.2 in 1990. It increased to 17.4 in 1993 and decreased to 16.1 in 1999 (figure 52). Under the middle alternative, the pupil/teacher ratio is projected to decrease to 14.7 in 2011. Based on the low and high alternatives, the pupil/teacher ratio in public elementary and secondary schools is projected to range between 14.6 and 14.9 in the year 2011.

For private elementary and secondary schools, the pupil/teacher ratio decreased from 15.7 in 1986 to 13.8 in 1989. Then it increased to 15.2 in 1999. Under the middle alternative, the pupil/teacher ratio is projected to decrease to 13.2 in 2011. Based on the low and high alternatives, the pupil/teacher ratio in private elementary and secondary schools is expected to range between 13.1 and 13.4 in the year 2011.

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education