It’s often said that a high quality teacher is the most important factor in determining a child’s academic success. But as we gear up for a new school year, numerous states are reporting that there is a shortage of this crucial component.

Such reports caused Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute to wonder if today’s teaching pool is smaller than it was 40 years ago. As it turns out, data from the Department of Education shows that there has actually been a huge increase in the amount of teachers since 1970. Take a look:

Commenting on this data, Coulson declares:

“To this day, we employ over 150% as many teachers as we did in 1970, to teach only 109% as many students. In other words, the number of teachers has grown 5 times faster than enrollment. That does not mean that there couldn’t be a small portion of districts in the U.S. that really need to hire teachers, but it does mean that there is no ‘national teacher shortage’ compared to historical levels of employment.” 

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