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Look for new trouble in public education in the next few years -- a severe teacher shortage. So say experts in the field. Reason: With many institutions and much of the public assuming there is a teacher surplus, students are choosing other career fields.

That factor, plus low teacher salaries, the advent of competency testing, and a rising birthrate, it is feared, will leave local school systems shorthanded.

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There'll be panic, frets one administrator, who foresees students with lesser potential turning to teaching as the s hortage makes the profession attractive again -- and then being unable to pass the competency tests.m

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