Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

First Advisor

Dianne Renn


Teacher education attrition is a largely understudied topic, especially from the perspective of the college student. What factors prevented education majors from graduating with a teaching degree? There are countless studies about teacher attrition within the first five years in the classroom (DeAngelis et al., 2013; Kopkowski, 2008; Office of Postsecondary Education [OPE], 2015), but the research is sparse when it comes to the retention rate of education majors. Why do students get accepted and enter college as education majors and then not graduate with a degree to become a teacher? The purpose of this study was to consider factors influencing teacher candidates who drop their education major before becoming a K-12 or high school teacher. By studying why college students who major in teacher education programs are not able to successfully complete their program, this research provides reasons why this happens, when it happens, and how to better support these college students. This study highlights how the leaky teacher pipeline, the teacher shortage, the impact on K-12 and secondary teachers, the impact on colleges of education, and the lack of diversity in education could all be improved by addressing the experiences of teacher education majors. This study found itself situated between two competing and contrasting conceptual frames. Neoliberalism and the critical frameworks guided the fundamental questions surrounding teacher education attrition. Are fewer people becoming teachers because it simply costs too much to go to college, and teaching positions are not glamorous and do not pay well? That would be the neoliberal way of approaching the question. Conversely, the critical framework would ask the question in terms of the diminished “pool” of perspective teachers, particularly those of color. Since desegregation, the field of education has been increasingly dominated by white educators and now fewer people overall want to be teachers. The National Center for Education Statistics ([NCES], 2016b) stated that for the 2015-2016 school year, public school teachers were 76.6% female and 80.1% white. These two frameworks helped to not only craft the research questions, but also juxtaposed this complex issue. This study will explore why some individuals who want to teach when arriving at a college campus do not become licensed teachers.


Imported from Piotrowski_ilstu_0092E_11856.pdf


Page Count