BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's estimated that over the next five years one-third of New York State teachers could retire. According to the New York State United Teachers, since 2009, enrollment in teacher education programs has dropped 47% across the state.
Locally, schools like D'Youville had to suspend it's education program in 2016 due to low enrollment despite have record-breaking numbers of students attending the college.
So the question remains: Will there be enough teachers to replace ones on track to retire?
Buffalo State's Dean of Education Wendy Paterson believes her program is making strides in trying to get students back into teaching.
"It's more of a distribution issue than a teacher shortage across the board," Paterson said. She's been an educator for more than 40 years and recalls the influx of jobs in teaching when she graduated. Now, she says, the professional is cyclical, and always has been.
"The number of students went down based on the number of jobs that weren't available, but also because of new regulations and the ways that teachers were talked about in the state," she said. Paterson continued, " It's like a perfect storm so we lost a lot of numbers and now we're trying to get back to that."
And the School of Education at Buffalo State is, slowly. The program saw an almost 11% increase in enrollment from Fall of 2017 to Fall of 2018. Although positive, those numbers still have a long way to go.
"It's coming back, but it'll never go back to the way it was," she said.
On Thursday, a special summit focused on the impending shortage will take place at Kenmore Middle School from 1-3p.m.