NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

U.S. Recruiting Teachers From Abroad

July 16, 2001

Education specialists estimate the U.S. will need 2.2 million additional teachers over the next decade. But for many schools the shortage of teachers is here and now -- as older teachers retire and some younger ones take time out for pregnancies, and for other reasons.

So larger school districts are sending their own recruitment teams to foreign countries -- while smaller or poorer districts rely on organizations such as the Visiting International Faculty, the Teachers Replacement Group or the Global Educators Outreach Program. These organizations visit such countries Chile, Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Jamaica and Australia to attract teachers to U.S. schools.

  • Education experts say U.S. schools have about 200,000 vacancies a year in teaching.
  • Colleges annually produce about 150,000 new teachers -- leaving a deficit of about 50,000.
  • The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service only issues about 107,500 temporary H-1B visas a year -- some of which go to foreign teachers who work here.
  • U.S. recruiters are particularly on the lookout for teachers in math and science -- the two subjects in which American students are the weakest.

The recruitment programs report that there are some cultural differences between how teachers instruct abroad and how education proceeds here. Teachers in many other countries are accustomed to teach by lecturing, but that doesn't go over well with students here.

Also, many foreign teachers find that U.S. students are not as motivated and tend to have discipline problems.

Source: Tamara Henry, "Teacher Shortage Gets Foreign Aid," USA Today, July 16, 2001.


Browse more articles on Education Issues