Legacy Media Veracity on “teacher shortages”

Mike Antonucci

In a world where newspapers of record can continually report on a national teacher shortage without actually comparing the number of teachers with previous years, or the number of teachers with the number of students, it’s easy to despair of education reporting.

Thankfully, every so often you come across a reporter like Julia Silverman of The Oregonian, who did both of those things in a story headlined, “Oregon lost students but added teachers, state report shows.”

“Overall, there were 32,836 teachers in Oregon public school classrooms in the ‘21-22 school year, or 1,508 more educators than in the 2017-2018 academic year, according to counts of full-time equivalent positions,” she wrote. “That was the case even though there were 27,672 fewer students enrolled statewide last school year than five years ago.”

Two sentences. That’s all it took to provide context about the level of public school staffing. Any teacher shortage story without those two sentences is incomplete, at best, and deliberately misleading, at worst.