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This report, based on both historical data and on a survey of new 1988-1989 hires in Indiana, examines the sources of teacher supply and the paths into teaching taken by newly hired teachers, and the ways these paths have changed over time. Surprisingly, experienced teachers today account for a larger proportion of new hires than inexperienced teachers; experienced teachers have grown as a proportion of new hires from 15 to 30 percent. Since the number of new hires has sharply decreased since the mid-1970s and most of these new hires are older, the average age of the teaching force has increased, suggesting that an effort must be made to attract young people to teaching to offset the supply reduction that will occur in 10 to 15 years as older teachers retire. The survey data examined here present a picture of a fluid, responsive, and dynamic teacher labor market. The findings suggest that a greater degree of cooperation between school districts and businesses might be a cost-effective way to recruit. Low-cost certification programs and scholarships might serve to attract career switchers. However, there seems to be little states can do to prevent breaks in service for teachers who leave and later return to teaching.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.