When Theresa Montaño first joined the faculty at Cal State Northridge, as a professor of bilingual education, her classes were packed with future teachers. “I’d have to turn students away,” she said.
Now, a little more than a decade later, says Montaño, “I’m actually having a hard time enrolling students in my undergrad education classes. And it’s not just my classes, or my campus — this is true across the CSU system.”
It’s true across the United States, too. In a 2016 national survey of college freshmen, the number of students who say they will major in education has reached its lowest point in 45 years. Just 4.2 percent intend to major in education—a typical first step to becoming a teacher—compared to 11 percent in 2000; 10 percent in 1990; and 11 percent in 1971, according to data gathered by the UCLA’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program.