It’s no secret that there’s a nationwide teacher shortage... as less and less young people choose to pursue the field of education post-graduation. The numbers are declining year after year, as states scramble to find solutions. How are schools handling not only lack of talent in the workforce pool, but also within their staff currently as class sizes swell and resources dwindle?
Is Teacher Shortage a reality?
A teacher shortage occurs when there is an insufficient amount of teachers in key subject areas. Temporary economic conditions, district and school budget cuts, teacher layoffs, and the increasing cost of higher education are all factors that impact the education system. The shortage of teachers will inevitably cause a decline in the standards of education. With a slimmer pool of options, school administration will be forced to hire less qualified teachers, as highly qualified teachers become more unattainable. According to research by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the teacher shortage could reach a lack of 200,000 teachers by 2025, which has increased by 110,000 teachers in 2018. The shortage is caused by a number of field related factors including, insufficient pay, working conditions, lack of support, standardized testing, lack of autonomy, and the changing curriculum. The high turnover rate of teachers consumes economic resources through costs of recruiting and training, which could be better expended elsewhere in a school or district's budget.
The effects of the teacher shortage are more prevalent in low-income schools and geographic regions- where turnover rate is almost twice as high , according to the U.S Department of Education. Teachers are more likely to leave a school when they are dissatisfied with the school administration, academic resources, student-related resources, and working conditions. Low-income schools generally lack funding, and the ability to remain a competitive option for highly qualified teachers. Rural schools also pose challenges with low teacher retention rates, having limited access to medical care, family networks, shopping, etc. This unequal distribution of highly qualified teachers across regions excludes certain populations of students from taking rigorous courses necessary to pave the way to post-secondary pathways.
States with the highest Teacher Shortages
An article by Sam Becker revealed the states with the most severe shortages of teachers. The following states are listed below:
- California- the most populous state in the nation, struggling to fill teacher positions. With vacancies in a variety of subjects such as, mathematics, science, foreign language, and special education. The shortages are steadily worsening after years of budget cuts and teacher layoffs, the unpredictable job stability averts teachers from California's schools.
- Nevada- a state that is incredibly rural, making it difficult to attract educators to certain regions of the state. However, Las Vegas also faces difficulty in retaining teachers. In response, the state has started to offer signing bonuses and lowering teacher standards, allowing teachers into classrooms with provisional licenses.
- Washington- A study by the U.S. Department of Education revealed, the state needs more teachers in 17 subject areas. The state struggles with funding, a shortage of substitutes, and teachers qualified to teach certain subjects.
- Washington D.C.- Teachers in Washington D.C. do not receive congressional representation, but are paid a more competitive salary than most states. With full-time and substitute teaching shortages. The district faces an issue with high turnover rates and teachers leaving the profession for reasons other than retirement.
- Indiana- a midwestern state struggling with attracting and retaining teachers. The state has initiated emergency licenses for teachers of certain subjects as long as they are working towards obtaining a credible teaching license.
- Arizona- a desert state with extreme issues attracting teachers. The state has lowered teaching standards to now allowing individuals to teach with experience in 'relevant fields' or a teaching certificate.
- Hawaii- The isolation and high cost of living on the islands steers educators away from making the expensive move to Hawaii. The state wage for teachers is less than any other state. The state is taking initiatives to raise teacher salaries.
Badge Messenger® Cares
The need for great, impactful teachers is a timeless demand. Although the problems and economic conditions related to the teacher shortage are complex and deep-rooted, society will always need educators.
The shortage of teachers will affect the quality of education of today's generation and future generations. The negative relationship between rising class size and falling teacher availability means classrooms will have to accommodate more students. Increased classes size will decrease teacher effectiveness and performance. Posing more assignments and tests to grade, and a slash in one-on-one time between teachers and students who are struggling with course material. Not to mention, more students to supervise, behavior to monitor, and manage.
With the changing environment of education, one thing that will always remain consistent is Badge Messengers' support for your teachers. Improving the safety and communication of your school's students and staff, and always having your teachers' backs! In both predictable and unpredictable situations.