Every school district administrator charged with adding, replacing or maintaining teacher hires will agree that the US has a teacher shortage. Many of those same administrators also agree that there currently is a teacher crisis. What is the differentiator between the schools that agree there is a teacher shortage to those that believe there is a teacher crisis? If we define a shortage to be a scarcity and a crisis to be an emergency, what number of teachers should trigger a teacher crisis? The differentiator is not one cause, but more often than not, it comes down to a few causes. One of those causes is attracting teachers to schools serving disproportionally low income and minority students. This was recently noted by past Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
TeacherJobFairs.org has been tracking the growing trend of a teacher shortage to a teacher crisis for the past three years. “There continues to be a trend toward more teacher vacancies that go unfilled as this increases the anxiety of schools to hire” said Christopher Dugan, President of Teacherjobfairs.org “The continued trend over past three years is concerning as more and more low income and minority schools face the reality that this trend will continue with no end in sight”.
A recent survey conducted in March of this year by TeacherJobFairs.org of 1200 school district human resources administrators across the US, 64% believed they were in a teacher job recruitment crisis. While 36% believed they were in a teacher shortage, all the respondents believed there is a teacher recruitment problem. When we asked the 64% of schools that believed their district was in a teacher hiring crisis, 82% defined their district as predominately serving low income and minority students. What criteria were used to differentiate between a teacher shortage and teacher crisis? We had randomly sampled over 120 schools throughout the US prior to the survey to calculate current teacher opening and found that the average was 27 openings. There were of course many factors why these positions were open including, retirements, moves and additions of curriculum/programs. We did not share the number of opening we found through our survey with the schools surveyed in an attempt not to influence their survey results. Of the schools that stated there is a teacher crisis, the average number of teacher openings was 55. The question we have now, is this acceptable? At what point do the states and districts accept that we are in a crisis as defined by the very districts that we polled and take action to correct this? What action should be taken? Is it legislative, political or infrastructure focused?
Like many problems, the first step is acknowledging there is a problem and the second step is to accept and get help. At what point will the school districts accept and get help?
About the Survey
The survey was conducted throughout the month of March 2016 as part of the quarterly survey conducted by TeacherJobFairs.org over the past three years. For the survey, 1200 school district human resources administrators were contacted by phone. Weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the US school system. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been if all school districts in the United States had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to polling error, coverage error, and measurement error.
TeacherJobFairs.org is the industry standard for schools to recruit teachers throughout the US through it teacher recruitment events which are more than 80 per year, online recruitment tools and HIRE NOW! With its team of award winning school district industry veterans it positions schools for success in teacher recruitment.
By Christopher Dugan President, TeacherJobFairs.org