Opinion: Problems with the ‘Teacher Pipeline’ — An Unfit Analogy for Finding (and Fostering) Future Educators
“Teacher Pipeline” is a common term used to encompass issues of teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention. The phrase is not new, popular in seasons of dire teacher shortages —from the 1980s (AACTE, 1988; Ekstrom & Goertz, 1985) to our present age (Choate, Goldhaber, & Theobald, 2020; Goldhaber & Mizrav, 2021; Kyser et al., 2021).
A “Teacher Pipeline” evokes vivid imagery: supply and demand, staff shortages akin to an energy crisis, and an impetus to extract and extrude future educators. To wit, the pipeline analogy lends itself to further symbolism such as “refueling” (Goldhaber et al., 2015/6); “widening” (Gagnon et al., 2019), “excavating” (Goldhaber & Cowan, 2014); and dealing with numerous “breaks,” “holes,” or “leaks” (Barth et al., 2016; Shah et al., 2018; Stohr, Fontana, & Lapp, 2018; TNTP, 2020).