Friday, November 14, 2008

Four Percent

Richard Ingersol (via eduwonkette):

Teachers represent 4% of the entire civilian workforce. There are, for example, more than twice as many elementary and secondary teachers as there are registered nurses, and there are five times as many teachers as there are either lawyers or professors. The sheer size of the teaching force combined with its levels of annual turnover mean that there are large numbers of teachers in some kind of job transition each year. For example, the data show that over the course of the 1999-2000 school year, well over 1 million teachers— almost a third of this large workforce—moved into, between, or out of schools.

A lot of this chatter about teacher quality and the efficacy of firing our way out of an education crisis simply loses track of the scale of public education.

Put another way, the percentage of teachers in the US workforce is close to the percentage of Asians in the US population.

Or, to express this in "Did You Know?" math:

If 100% of the top 5% of all workers...

...became teachers...

...there would only be 1% left for...

...all other occupations.

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