Chicago Public Schools has more than 700 unfilled jobs for special ed teachers, classroom aides and clinicians. It’s trying to fill the gap by waiving the city residency requirement to hire teachers in special education and other “hard-to-staff” areas; by launching a teacher residency program with a New York-based graduate program; and by starting an early hire program that offers jobs to education students who commit to teaching in “high-needs” areas.
Teacher shortages across the country are getting so dire that they’re forcing some school districts to live stream lessons, replacing educators in many classrooms. According to The Wall Street Journal, tens of thousands of high school students nationwide are now getting lessons taught by a remote teacher to occupy many hard-to-fill positions in areas like science, math and special education.
This report says that the nationwide teacher shortage is much more nuanced than typically reported. One nuance is that the number of teacher graduates is growing. A nationwide study cited within the NCTQ’s report shows that there were over 3.8 million public school teachers in 2015-16 — an increase of some 400,000, or 13 percent, over the previous four years. Yet only about half of these graduates fill a teaching job on any given year.
This study found that of the 41 states that did respond to the survey, 28 say they are experiencing teacher shortages. Of those 28, 15 say teacher shortages have increased in the last year. Of the nine states that didn’t respond to the survey, public data suggests another eight are experiencing teacher shortages.
California has earmarked nearly $200 million over the last four years to address the state’s persistent teacher shortage, but it is not enough, according to new studies that are part of “Getting Down to Facts II,” a research project focused on a wide array of statewide education issues. The teacher shortage has worsened in recent years as state funding for education improved and districts began lowering class sizes and bringing back programs like summer school and the arts, which were frequently eliminated during the recession, increasing the need for more teachers.
Out of the 220 districts that responded to the survey, 91 percent reported experiencing a teacher shortage, with most feeling the pinch in science, math, and special education. Eighty-five percent of the surveyed districts applied for emergency permits for people who don’t have teaching licenses, or educators who are hired to teach subjects outside their licensure.
Hundreds of districts across the country are grappling with a growing teacher shortage — especially in key areas such as math and special ed. Increasingly, teachers in areas like math and science are leaving for higher-paying private sector jobs after a few years. As a result, many teachers who remain are being asked to do more, and class sizes are growing. The two main reasons teachers are leaving are that they aren’t paid enough, and that teaching in the US is too demanding. The article cites some strategies for how to fix this nationwide shortage and retention issue.