Where have all the teachers gone? Shortages reported.

A few years ago, we were discussing how newly minted teachers were finding a bleak job market in Georgia.

Now, some districts are facing a shortage of candidates. Clayton and DeKalb are among the districts still in search of staff. As is the case nationwide, the hardest-to-fill slots are math, science, foreign language and special education.

Kansas is dealing with a pronounced shortage of teachers, in part because of deep cuts to education. As the Huffington Post reported on Thursday: Last year, more than 2,320 educators in the state retired, compared to 1,260 in the 2011-2012 school year, according to data from the Kansas State Department of Education. At the same time, 654 teachers decided to leave the state last year, compared to just 399 in 2011-2012. Over 270 open teaching and non-teaching school staff positions were listed on the Kansas Education Employment Board’s website as of Thursday afternoon.

The New York Times reported today some California districts are waiving credentialing requirements to get people in front of the classroom:

Across the country, districts are struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science and special education — a result of the layoffs of the recession years combined with an improving economy in which fewer people are training to be teachers.

At the same time, a growing number of English-language learners are entering public schools, yet it is increasingly difficult to find bilingual teachers. So schools are looking for applicants everywhere they can — whether out of state or out of country — and wooing candidates earlier and quicker. Some are even asking prospective teachers to train on the job, hiring novices still studying for their teaching credentials, with little, if any, classroom experience.

Where are all the new teachers for America's schools?

Where are all the new teachers for America’s schools?

In Ed Week’s Teaching Now blog, Ross Brenneman has a good post on whether the teacher shortage is real – it is in some places and some content areas.

He writes:

If you graduated with a degree in computer science, would you rather join a multibillion-dollar enterprise in San Francisco, or teach for a low-paying, rural South Dakota school? Well done to those of you who have chosen the latter. Even the best-paying states are unlikely to compete with the promise of tech startup money.

For the multitudes of educators who can abide a low salary, the other working conditions in a state can be a sticking point. The Independence, Mo., school district has started openly advertising its teaching vacancies across its state border with Kansas, where teacher unrest has led to what some have dubbed an “exodus.”

Finally, there’s the public perception of the teaching profession itself. Some recent surveys have found teachers unenthusiastic about their profession, and many teachers hesitate to recommend it.

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Reader Comments 0

189 comments
tirededu
tirededu

America-  Where billionaires who wreck the economy get bailed out and teachers who fudge on  a test get hard time...who wouldn't want to be a teacher?  Low pay, no respect, a-hole politicians making laws even though they haven't been in a classroom in 40 years...

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

Wow!  Vilify teachers for an entire generation and people quit going into the field?  I'm shocked!  Shocked, I say. 

One of my former parents and I shared a laugh a few weeks ago.  About five years ago, I asked one of my, then, seniors what she was going to be "when she grew up."  She responded, "A teacher!"  I screamed at her not to waste my efforts and to go into a job with prestige - one that paid a living wage.   Her mother told me that her daughter told her about our discussion, and how astounded she was that I had yelled at her.  Her mother, a fellow teacher, then told her she would disown her if she went into education.  We had a good laugh about it.  By the way, she's graduating this year with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.  Her mother (and I) are extremely proud of her. 


Oh, and it's going to get worse trying to find teachers - inertia, doncha' know?  This is just the start of the landslide.

WeirdScience
WeirdScience

Apparently not all systems use teachgeorgia.org; at their own HR sites, Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb, and Clayton are all still listing dozens of certified (teacher) vacancies. 

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

This topic is probably influenced by those from DSW, which ceases to exist.  DSW2CONTIBUTOR was under the belief that teacher shortages in the metro area and across the country were limited to DeKalb

dsw2contributor
dsw2contributor

@FredinDeKalb  I only know a little about what is happening in Dekalb schools; I am not in a position to know what it is happening across the entire metro area!


As for the Dekalb School Watch 2 blog, I suspect that it was shut down because Stan & Nancy lacked the time to run it while also holding public office.

CSpinks
CSpinks

Has "the Word" finally gotten out?


Young folk enter teaching to help kids learn. 


Young folk do not enter teaching to be disrespected, to have their classroom climate disrupted, and to encounter too-many kids who are "too cool for school," for whom "school is a fool," and who want to believe that "I don't need no education."

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Shortages of teachers?  Not really - according to the Teach Ga website:  https://www.teachgeorgia.org/


Cobb - 0 vacancies

Clayton - 0 vacancies

Dekalb - 4 vacancies

Fulton - 3 vacancies

Gwinnett - 11 vacancies


Perusing through the listing, the vast majority of school systems are posting single digit vacancies.  One exception is Paulding County with 43 vacancies.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@Lee_CPA2 Go to the actual district employment sites. There are far more listings there. 

smithmc
smithmc

Please cease from assuming that charter schools are automatically superior to ordinary public schools.  The research simply does not bear that assumption out. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

Next quote:

"School systems across Georgia are grappling with providing parents who want to move their children out of low-performing schools with enough options.

In many districts, more students are applying to transfer to high-performing schools, as state law allows, but there are not enough spaces available, and not enough good charter schools to fill the need. Student transfer requests are turned down, often with little explanation, leaving parents frustrated."

smithmc
smithmc

Ya, it's the "reforms" that are killing education.  Everyone seems to know how to "fix" it, but they are seldom the ones in the trenches every day who actually love the children and KNOW what is best for them.

anothercomment
anothercomment

Not in Fulton County they do not. I know of a case and this is not isolated where they refused the mothers request to hold back a child in 8 th grade. They outright violated the law!!

class80olddog
class80olddog

@smithmc Like the teachers that continually defend social promotion, because "that was the way it was taught to me in college"?

class80olddog
class80olddog

@elementary-pal @class80olddog  You LIE!  Check out the Georgia Law - it says that there has to be UNANIMOUS consent between the parent, the teacher and the principal in order to promote. That means any TEACHER can have ABSOLUTE VETO over social promotion.

Point
Point

@class80olddog @elementary-pal Typically the decision whether or not to retain a student comes from Central Office, not the teachers.  The thought on retention is the student is more likely to dropout if retained in one grade, practically guaranteeing the student drops out if retained twice,  I wasn't so sure until someone told me to find out how many 20 and 21 year-old students were attending high school.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Point @class80olddog @elementary-pal You wouldn't have to RETAIN a student if you could segregate him/her into a different class in the next grade - a "remedial" class.  A class made up of all those who are not up to speed.

BTW, most of those who fail a class and need to be retained will eventually drop out anyway, because they don't care about education (and their parent doesn't care either).

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@class80olddog 

"BTW, most of those who fail a class and need to be retained will eventually drop out anyway, because they don't care about education (and their parent doesn't care either)."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Simply not true.  Please stop perpetuating untrue stereotypes about the thoughts and motivations of others.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@elementary-pal 

AND...as a former professor in a well-respected school of education, I have never taught anything about social promotion.  Stop beating the dead horse.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Thank you.  HOW MUCH that needed to be stated to Class80old dog who sounds like a broken record about something of which he knows little.

elementary-pal
elementary-pal

@class80olddog @elementary-pal mmm...I do not lie.  If the parent is the one who disagrees, then the child is not retained.  You are right, it has to be unanimous, but I do not recommend retention, the teacher who has been working with the child all year makes that recommendation and I support them.  The parent can veto our recommendation.  So...the parent does have the final say.

As for holding child back at parent request when it has not been recommended by the teacher and/or administrator, it is the same thing.  The decision must be agreed upon by all involved.  The only time I have had a parent request retention when it was not recommended was a sports related issue, not academic. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

@OriginalProf @MaryElizabethSings @elementary-pal Yes, I should know by now that certain laws are enforced and some are not.  So there was a problem with social promotion that was serious enough that the Georgia Legislature created a law to address it, and now that law is being ignored and schools STILL have not addressed the underlying issue?  Sounds like a serious flaw in our educational system.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@elementary-pal @class80olddog "You are right, it has to be unanimous,"

So it is NOT just up to the parent - so why did you state: "You do realize that parents have the last word on retention, right? You keep harping about social promotion, but when I tell parents their child is more than 2 years behind in reading and they insist that they will "catch them up" this year, I have to promote the student."

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@OriginalProf 

I was referring more to the fact that his words indicate that he does not understand the full educational complexity and ramifications of retaining students.  The unique situation of every student who might be considered for retention must be analyzed in great depth by many people for what is in the best interests of that specific student.  Generalities do not apply.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@class80olddog 

I have no doubt that you know what the law says.  I, however, was referring to the  fact that yours words, over the months and years, regarding the retention of students and "social promotion" have indicated that you do not understand the full educational complexity and ramifications of retaining students. 

The unique situation of every student, who might be considered for retention, must be analyzed in great depth by many people for what is in the best interests of that specific student.  Generalities do not apply.

popacorn
popacorn

Where will you find people smart enough to do all this analysis? 

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@class80olddog @elementary-pal Really? You think a principal, who serves at the pleasure of the politically-appointed Superintendent is going to go against a parent's wishes and support a teacher?  REALLY??  I bet you also think that people who bring back a broken product and complain about it to Walmart will be told that it's out of the return period, too?


Not to mention a principal letting a teacher fail a student.  It would only happen if the teacher had more political power than the parent.  That rarely happens.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@class80olddog @Point @elementary-pal  Yes, they do drop out, and that has nothing to do with the politics of social promotion.  You are trying to apply the logic of the marketplace and the schools of the late 60's and early 70's to today's politics.  It's all about blaming the teacher for the student's failures.  This is why the supply of teachers is decreasing, AND the ones you would want teaching your children are fleeing from the schools entirely: regular, charter, AND private

elementary-pal
elementary-pal

@class80olddog @elementary-pal  Apparently logic and comprehension are not a strong suit or you are so set in your thinking that all of us "evil administrators" refuse to retain a child that you cannot understand a parent could possibly have a say in the matter.  Let me explain it a different way.  If the teacher and the principal recommend retention - that is two votes.  If the parent disagrees - that is one vote.  This means the decision is not unanimous.  Therefore, the parent's vote made the decision to not retain the student.  I never said it was JUST up to the parent.  I said they have the final word - and they do.  Their vote can keep the decision from being unanimous. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

@elementary-pal @class80olddog  Go read the law - the decision to PROMOTE must be unanimous!  If the teacher does not recommend promotion, then it is over, the student MUST be retained! (of course, in the real world, the teacher would be fired for bucking her principal)

elementary-pal
elementary-pal

@class80olddog  You do realize that parents have the last word on retention, right? You keep harping about social promotion, but when I tell parents their child is more than 2 years behind in reading and they insist that they will "catch them up" this year, I have to promote the student.    AND...as a former professor in a well-respected school of education, I have never taught anything about social promotion.  Stop beating the dead horse. 

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@class80olddog 


Frankly, I do not know of ANY teachers who blindly promote social promotion.  Most of us realize that in some cases retention would be the best option, but we are rarely given that option.  In other cases, retention would not necessarily be helpful.  It depends upon the child and the reasons the child is struggling. 


The decision should be made on an individual basis, but the pressure is on everyone NOT to retain, as it costs money.  Also "research" tends to suggest it is not helpful - likely because just having a child repeat a grade without providing them the additional support they need to be successful is not likely to lead to a different outcome in many cases. 


In addition, the CRCT third grade "gate year' law lead to a lot of children being "promoted" who should have been retained in K-2 when it would have done the most good... instead they were passed on with the idea that they would fail the CRCT in 3rd and be automatically retained.  However, by the end of third grade, you chances of catching them up are much slimmer and the process required to do so much more difficult. Also by age nine and ten, children are becoming self aware enough to start to internalize the social stigma of being retained.  If you are going to retain, best to do it during the foundational years - K-1 are probably the grade levels most likely to make a real impact.

class80olddog
class80olddog

Here is a good quote:

"After 32 years of teaching I have seen more so-called "reforms" than I can count, most of them driven by publishers, politicians, and incompetent administrators who were also incompetent teachers."

class80olddog
class80olddog

You know, if the Federal Government fully funded the IDEA, maybe there would be some money for supplies and teacher raises!  But the Feds want to tell you what to do and then make you pay for it.  They have to use federal funding as a carrot, though, to get around the Tenth Amendment.

readcritic
readcritic

Education has consistently gone downhill. Just when one thinks it can't get any worse, it does. Discipline is nonexistent, administrators offer no support, the media teacher bashes constantly, student apathy is rampant because they know they will be granted endless do-overs and extensions and be guaranteed a passing grade, and highly-qualified veteran teachers are being forced out as they are targeted by crafty and devious administrators who plot to hire the younger, cheaper, and not necessarily better versions who are allowed to come in and dictate what they want to teach (with little or no experience or advanced degrees). The pay is pathetic, the working conditions are thankless, demanding, and stressful, and the expectations and duties are increased every year. One cannot even use the restroom as needed. The retirement package might provide enough to allow the teacher to live in a cardboard box under a bridge as thanks for years of dedicated service. What's not to like?

class80olddog
class80olddog

@readcritic You hit lots of those nails squarely on the head! 

"One cannot even use the restroom as needed"  - I would feel a lot worse about that one if a teacher had not refused to let my 8-year-old son go to the bathroom and made him wet himself.  And no explanation or apology given. 

Retirement?  Does TRS allow you to keep insurance if you retire before 65?  My retirement does not.

hssped
hssped

@class80olddog @readcritic

I don't use the school insurance.  It sucks.  Way too much money for nothing.  I use the spouse's insurance.  But, I think you can keep the insurance if you retire before 65 if you are willing to pay an arm and a leg for it.  I'm not sure.  One of my friends retired before medicare kicked-in and I know she was insured and it wasn't through her spouse.  His position at whatever company he worked for was eliminated in the great recession and due to his age....he was never able to get another job. He tried for several years.  Age discrimination?  

Tidning_
Tidning_

@class80olddog @readcritic 

Basically, if you're drawing a teacher's pension adequate to pay the monthly premium, then teachers (and their spouses) retain their health insurance coverage after retiring (usually well before age 65). As in my case.

The health coverage is both excellent and well-priced. Absolutely no couple I know pays lower premiums for comparable coverage. Plus, it's guaranteed renewable for life.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@Tidning_ @class80olddog @readcritic


"Basically, if you're drawing a teacher's pension adequate to pay the monthly premium, then teachers (and their spouses) retain their health insurance coverage after retiring (usually well before age 65)." 


Heads up... I believe there is a movement afoot to change this.  I seem to recall the legislature already did away with this at the university level last year.  Now you get a "voucher" to buy your own insurance.  Good luck with that... try finding affordable insurance for the price of a "voucher" at age 60. 


Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Quidocetdiscit @Tidning_ @class80olddog @readcritic 

1) There's no connection between TRS and health insurance. TRS is a retirement plan. Individual schools may have their own perqs that include subsidizing health insurance payments.


2) Generally speaking, USG health insurance is way different from the SHBP that public teachers have. (But you have to be 65 for its supplementary insurance program, for you have to be signed up for Medicare. Professors usually are 65+ when they retire.) The USG is indeed changing its old benefit of subsidizing  supplementary Medicare insurance programs for retirees, but it's not yet clear what it's changing to. Changing from a defined benefits plan to a defined contributions plan, we're told.  But I don't think it's a voucher. Also, USG has told us that they've arranged for us to enroll with one of several health insurance companies...can't turn us down.  More to be unveiled by the Sept. sign-up period.

Tidning_
Tidning_

@OriginalProf 

As usual, you don't know what you're talking about when it comes to K-12 teacher retirees. And the article is about school districts.

The premiums for SHBP health insurance for retired K-12 teachers (and their spouses) come directly out of their monthly TRS retirement checks. While TRS doesn't administer the health plan itself, it necessarily does handle the premium payments.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Tidning_ @OriginalProf 

OP's #1 point is wrong on both counts. Individual schools for k -12 public schools in Georgia (implied) do not offer individual medical benefit subsidized perks.

And, you have correctly explained the connection between the TRS and medical payments for retired teachers throughout Georgia who are part of the TRS, k -12.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Quidocetdiscit @class80olddog  That was sad tongue-in-cheek - I don't really judge teachers by that one.  I still hold it against Cherokee County.  We then moved to Cobb County and had GREAT teachers. 


Besides, if you follow my posts, you know that I hold ADMINISTRATORS more at fault than teachers.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@MaryElizabethSings @Tidning_ @OriginalProf 

Please see my reply to Tidning_. I'll add that in the USG system (about which I was posting in answer to Quid.), individual schools do offer different perks relating to medical benefits for retirees.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Tidning_ @OriginalProf 

Quid.'s question related to health insurance "at the university level" and "the movement afoot to change this," and that was what I was answering. I also tried to make clear the distinction between the K-12 teachers' health insurance, and the USG employees' health insurance: "Generally speaking, USG health insurance is way different from the SHBP that public teachers have."

But thanks for clearing up any possible misunderstandings.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@class80olddog 



Your comment points out a major problem - ONE teacher caused a problem for your son, and as a result you are willing to punish all of them. Believe me, if I let ONE parent determine how I treated all the parents I encounter, things could be very unpleasant.  I see this in the media constantly...there are dozens of horror stories about BAD teachers doing BAD things...and thus you hear comments about how awful teachers must be.  However, the truth is that the news isn't going to get "buzz" by publishing stories about the hundreds of thousands of teachers doing GOOD things in the classroom every day.


I had a horrible dentists as a child and thanks to him, I have struggled with life long dental issues.  (My parents came from families who were too poor to get dental work at all, so were not really aware of what a poor dentist they had chosen for the family.)  However, I never judged ALL dentists by that one... I have continued to go to dentists my whole life.  The other day, I ordered something at a restaurant, and the waitress got the order incorrect.  She brought me something I did not order and did not like and then insisted I had ordered it - which made no sense as I would not order something I didn't like.  She was quite rude.  . However, I do not judge ALL waitresses by her actions.


Teachers are no more "all the same" than people in any other profession.  And unlike apples, one bad one does not spoil us all.  We are more like eggs.  The one bad one may really stink - but the rest of us might be "really good eggs."