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There Aren’t Enough Teachers to Go Around

Schools are having trouble filling teaching jobs

edCircuit Breakdown

A new report in Illinois has labeled the teacher shortage a “crisis,” especially in central Illinois, where schools are having trouble luring qualified teachers away from the Chicago area. The report was from a survey by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools’ (IARSS).

The second-largest district in Mississippi is facing disciplinary action for having too many teachers teaching outside their areas of endorsement. Jackson Public Schools executive director of school improvement, Dr. William Merritt, said the shortage is “not a Jackson Public Schools issue, it's a national issue."

One teacher in South Carolina who teaches at the school she graduated from in the town she grew up in has some advice for state legislators on how to keep teachers like her from leaving their jobs for greener pastures.

edCircuit Analysis

The teacher shortage in the U.S. is real, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be slowing down anytime soon. There are a number of factors contributing to the shortage, so a solution isn’t as easy as targeting one problem to fix.

teacher point of view of classroomThe number of new teachers entering the marketplace is on the decline. Enrollment in teacher-preparation programs dropped from 691,000 in 2009 to 451,000 in 2014, a 35 percent decline, according to the study, “A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand and Shortages in the U.S.”

Also, teacher attrition is high. Teachers are getting out of the teaching business well before retirement age, and many are attributing dissatisfaction with the job as the reason. The teacher shortage is hitting every state and is especially critical in rural areas.

EdCircuit featured columnist Larry Jacobs may not have a magic answer for fixing the shortage, but he does know how not to fix it.

As policymakers and legislators grapple with ways to get more teachers into schools, it is clear that it is a problem every state has to face head-on.

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