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Teacher Shortage – Part I – We Are In the Midst of a Teacher Shortage

Having access to teachers who deliver high-quality instruction is the key to a successful education. Without them, many students may not have the opportunity to succeed academically, and they certainly won’t have the time, attention, and support only a dedicated teacher can provide.

As the growing teacher shortage continues to spread across the United States, the important role teachers play in students’ lives is being highlighted.

To understand what the teacher shortage is, just picture a room packed full of candidates at a hiring event. The administrator walks in, asks who’s there to interview for an open teaching position, and all hands go up. The administrator then asks who has the proper college degree for the position and some hands go down. When asked who’s completed all the additional requirements needed to obtain a teaching license, hands go down yet again. By the end of reviewing critical teaching requirements there very few candidates and the administrator now has to compete with other districts across the state for those candidates.

The teacher shortage means there are not enough licensed and qualified educators within certain grade levels and key subject areas to fill the needs of school districts. The real problem lies in the fact that there’s a huge lack of certified teachers who want to teach in many of the school districts across the country. This is particularly true for high-poverty areas where the teacher shortage is even more prevalent.

When a teacher shortage occurs, it affects students, administrators, teachers, parents, businesses, and the community at large.

According to the US Department of Education, the teacher shortage has hit everywhere in the United States, but the states currently hit hardest by the teacher shortage are as follows:

States With a Significant Teacher Shortage  Grade Levels  Subject Areas
California Pre-K through 12Elementary Education Language Arts Math Science Special Ed
NevadaPre-K through 12Art & Music Elementary Education ESL Language Arts Math Science Special Ed
WashingtonPre-K through 12Art & Music Career & Tech Computer Science Elementary Education ESL Health & Physical Education Language Arts Math Science Social Studies Special Ed World Languages
Washington DCPre-K through 12Art & Music Career & Tech Elementary Education ESL Health & Physical Education Language Arts Math Science Special Ed World Languages
IndianaPre-K through 12Art & Music Career & Tech ESL Language Arts Math Science Special Ed World Languages
ArizonaPre-K through 12ESL Language Arts Math Science Social Studies Special Ed
HawaiiPre-K through 12Career & Tech Language Arts Math Science Special Ed World Languages

The data reflects the teacher shortage is becoming more pervasive and some communitieswill continue to see a ripple effect for years to come.

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