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New survey shows extent of teacher shortage in Arizona

A new report has found nearly 2,000 teacher openings need to be filled in Arizona districts.
Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 8:48 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- New numbers are shedding light on the ongoing teacher shortage in Arizona. According to a survey from the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA), there were nearly 2,000 teacher vacancies in January.

ASPAA surveyed 143 school districts and charter schools. Below is a portion of the press release:

The ASPAA January 2022 report indicates about 31.0% of teacher vacancies across the state this year remain unfilled while 47.7% of the vacancies are filled by teachers who do not meet the state’s standard certification requirements.

“I see often these starry-eyed, young teachers who want to go into the profession,” said the organization’s president, Dr. Susan Lugo. “But sometimes end up leaving us mid-year due to the stressors. So I feel like as a society, we need to lift those teachers up.”

To combat the shortage, in October, Arizona’s Family introduced you to the new Arizona Teacher Residency program as a way to prepare and keep teachers in Arizona classrooms. Victoria Theisen-Homer, the program director, says initially they had 400 people who showed interest online.

The Arizona K-12 Center runs the courses, and it’s based on a residency model with financial incentives like living stipends and subsidized tuition. The goal is to support educators from the beginning and through the challenges of their careers.

“The pandemic caused a lot of challenges for students,” said Theisen-Homer. “Students need additional supports today they didn’t need before the pandemic. So teachers are really having to go above and beyond the classroom.”

Theisen-Homer says the inaugural cohort will begin this summer and you can still apply through the final application cycle. Read more here.