Need for home economics teachers in Iowa's public schools for the next decade

Drizou, Chryssoula
Major Professor
Judy K. Brun
Committee Member
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Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies

The purpose of this study was to identify the need for home economics teachers in Iowa's public schools for the next decade. This was done by determining current home economics teachers' retirement and resignation plans and teachers' and principals' perceptions about curricular trends in home economics for the next decade. These variables were selected as factors affecting teacher supply and demand: (1) the number of students enrolled, (2) age of the teaching force as related to retirements, (3) number of teachers resigning, (4) number of teachers prepared and (5) decisions to increase, decrease or eliminate course offerings;A sample of 200 of the 698 teachers (28%) was selected from the list of home economics teachers by using a random-number generating computer program. For each teacher selected, the corresponding principal was identified. Fifteen schools had two home economics teachers in the randomly drawn sample, so there were 185 principals. Teacher and principal versions of "The Iowa Home Economics Curriculum and Careers Survey" were used to gather the information related to the purposes. A response rate of 87% for teachers and 87.5% for principals was built using strategies such as an "alert" post card sent one week prior to the questionnaire mailing, original letterhead and signatures for the cover letter, personalized letters, an easy-to-follow questionnaire format, postage stamps, typed envelopes, and two follow-ups. The respondents included 140 matched pairs of teachers and principals at the same school, a 73.3% response rate for pairs;Results indicated that teachers are moderately optimistic about the future of the home economics teaching profession for next year; they believe the outlook will be even better in ten years. School principals were only slightly less optimistic than home economics teachers, perceiving a future for home economics school programs that was "perhaps" likely, with a slight but significant increase in likelihood for the next ten years. Regarding the curriculum, teachers are adjusting curricula to meet needs of today's students, thereby moving in "progressive" directions. School principals see home economics teachers moving away from "traditional" home economics curricula, but only slightly over the next ten years.