CONWAY, AR (KAIT/KATV) - The state of Arkansas is facing a major shortage in new teachers as the number of students pursuing a career in teaching has been cut in half.
Education officials believe students have lost interest in becoming educators.
Rachel Caldwell will graduate from the University of Central Arkansas in December with an elementary education degree.
According to the Arkansas Department of Education, Caldwell is one of the few students pursuing an education career in Arkansas.
The department reports the number of teaching students has dropped from 7,700 in the 2011-2012 school year to around 3,300 in the 2014-2015 school year.
In an interview with KATV, Victoria Groves-Scott, dean of the College of Education at UCA, said the drop is likely due to money, along with the workload, lack of support and appreciation.
"Teachers have all of this power and influence and the ability to change all kinds of things in society just by their presence in the classroom," Groves-Scott said told KATV.
Groves-Scott said universities can improve the number of students seeking an education degree by working on their recruitment efforts.
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