New survey shows nearly 3,000 Arizona teaching positions remain vacant halfway through school year
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona has faced a teacher shortage for years and a new survey shows the impact its having on our schools. According to the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association, 2,890 teaching positions are still vacant across Arizona more than halfway through the school year.
More than 5,000 teacher positions are being filled by people who do not meet the standard teacher requirements. Some have an emergency teacher certificate, while others are coming from out of the country on a J-1 visa or are paid student teachers.
Nearly 200 Arizona school districts and charter schools participated in the association’s survey. The study also found more than 1,800 teachers have severed employment at some point this school year.
“The thing that fascinates me is the number of teachers who live leave mid-year,” said Justin Wing with the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association. “Close to 70% of our teachers who left mid-year are standard certified teachers, those who went to the College of Ed, and all along wanted to be a teacher.”
Wing is the data analyst for the association and also the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources with Mesa Public Schools. He tells Arizona’s Family he believes there’s several reasons why there’s a big shortage including teachers not encouraging others to get into the profession because of pay and other reasons.
“I point to our high schoolers who are not going to the College of Ed, and why are they not going to the College of Ed? And, the number one reason is the money,” Wing said. “We had teachers who for seven years during the recession didn’t get a raise at all, some actually lost wages. They’re telling their kids not to be teachers, let alone students.”
It’s not just teacher vacancies. The survey also found more than 23% of bus driver positions are still open. From cafeteria workers to speech pathologists and special education positions, the survey shows vacancies in many areas outside of the classroom.
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