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The Shortage Of Teachers: Conceals a Bigger Issue

By decreasing effectiveness, sapping financial resources, and impeding professionalization, the teacher shortage hurts students, teachers, and the public education system. (Photo: iStock)

One of the pressing concerns as many schools across the nation begin the new academic year is the shortage of teachers in the classrooms and whether they have enough qualified teachers.

More severe than we anticipated, the teacher shortage is, substantial, and growing. The shortage of teachers is even worse than currently anticipated. (Photo: iStock)

According to Daily KOS, the shortage of teachers has gotten worse in recent years, and the pandemic’s decline is doing nothing to help. An organization of researchers monitoring teacher openings is headed by Kansas State University education professor Tuan Nguyen. There were 36,500 job openings in 37 states and Washington, D.C. in 2021–2022, but this year there are more than 49,000, a 35% increase.

There are more than 30 open teaching positions for every 10,000 students in some states, including Maine, Nevada, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Rhode Island. For every 10,000 students, there are more than 50 open teaching positions in Mississippi and West Virginia. However, this doesn’t seem to solve the shortage of teachers.

Naturally, some locations and some students experience vacancies more severely than others. The Post reported that 57 percent of high-poverty schools had at least one vacancy as of October 2022, compared to 45 percent of public schools overall, according to a nationally representative survey conducted by the Education Department last year. “At least one vacancy existed in 60% of the schools where students of color made up more than three-quarters of the student body.”

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However, vacancies don’t provide the full picture. Unqualified teachers are being hired by many districts to fill open positions. Students might be learning math from a teacher who hasn’t even completed their undergraduate studies, let alone earned a master’s degree in education, or who gained classroom experience while doing their student teaching under the supervision of a certified teacher.

Economic Policy Institute also stated in their recent article, that has implications for the teacher’s experience and capacity to lead groups of children, in addition to their knowledge of the subject matter they are teaching. Students suffer when a teacher who lacks the necessary qualifications is just thrown into the classroom. Teachers have skills and training that matter. It’s much less likely, but not impossible, for someone without that training to become a fantastic teacher.

Additionally, Nguyen told The Washington Post, “They tend to leave the teaching profession at a much higher rate,” making the rise in underqualified teachers a problem even after those teachers have left the classroom. According to research, student outcomes are negatively impacted by teacher turnover in their schools as a whole, not just when individual teachers leave.

More than 250 underqualified teachers teach every 10,000 students in Louisiana, and more than 90 underqualified teachers teach every 100,000 students in Delaware, Texas, Alaska, and South Carolina.

School districts are reducing teacher vacancies, but it’s crucial to question whether they found fully licensed and trained teachers or lowered standards.

Teachers still face a significant pay penalty, which can be reduced if politicians acknowledge the importance of hiring good teachers. However, politicians may not recognize the crisis or actively worsen it as part of a Republican attack on public education.

READ ALSO: Multinational Navy Exercises “Sea Breeze 23.3” To Take Place In Black Sea Featuring Romanian, Ukrainian, And US Naval Forces

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