As Ontario cuts admissions, Stanford pushes PhDs to teaching

Why this new graduate isn’t intimidated

Stanford University recently announced that it will fully fund PhD graduates who go on to education degrees. While the traditional route for PhDs is academia, the reality of the job market in the U.S. means they might not find jobs in higher eduction, so they’re being encouraged to help alleviate a shortage of high school teachers instead.

As we know, the job market in Canada is very different. Here, new teachers struggle to find work.

Last week Ontario announced that it will halve the number of people admitted to teacher’s colleges in 2015. The province also added another year to the program. That means most new teachers in Canada will have four-year bachelor’s degrees and two-year bachelor of education (B.Ed.) degrees, for a total of six years. Some will also have master’s degrees and a few will have PhDs.

As a new B.E.d graduate with just five years of university, the fact that some teachers have more credentials doesn’t make me nervous about my potential to find work, as one might expect.

I am confident in my abilities and the fact that there may be high school teachers with an even higher education than my own doesn’t intimidate me. If anything, it would make for some very interesting discussions in the staff room. Students receiving education from an even wider diversity of teachers is hardly a bad thing.

On a superficial note, the admissions cut makes me feel slightly better because there will be less competition for jobs. Chopping the admission numbers and increasing the number of years needed for a B.Ed are attempts to mend some critical flaws in our current teacher education system.

With that said, what good will halving admission rates in Ontario do when those turned away need can go to the U.S. to get their degrees? It’s not as if we refuse degrees from south of the border.

And some reasons for extending the program itself into a two-year stint appear baseless. The government mentions that this was done to supplement the lack of classroom experience of teacher’s college graduates, but the reality is that these programs are already demanding.

The state that Canada’s teaching profession seems stark compared to the U.S, where graduate students are being solicited to train for teaching as a career alternative to academia. While the government is offering solutions, I’m doubtful about whether they will work in the long run.

Yuni Kim is a graduate of York University’s education program and is currently on a job hunt.