Louisiana Faces Critical Teacher Shortage
There's a critical teacher shortage across the nation. A recent survey shows 75% of school districts across the country don't have enough teachers. The pandemic has accelerated a teacher shortage that has been years in the making.
Louisiana is no stranger to this problem. A report in the Advocate in Baton Rouge says our state has been dealing with this issue for quite some time. Recent numbers show 1 in 5 classrooms in the state has someone who is uncertified or teaching outside of their field of expertise.
And the problem is not getting any better.
The report shows 40% of teachers move on to another profession in the first five years. One of the big problems is low pay. The pandemic has also caused many teachers to move into other fields.
Another problem in Louisiana is the desire for young people to teach. College students entering the teaching pipeline is down 18 percent in Louisiana over the past 10 yeas. Across the country, that number is down 20 percent.
The most recent Frontline Education survey studied data from more than 1,000 districts across the country and found a vast majority are dealing with teacher recruiting issues. Districts hold job fairs but only a handful of people show up at most of these events. 30% of National Education Association members say the pandemic has led them to plan to leave teaching sooner than expected.
Districts are putting signing bonuses in place to try to find new teachers. But so far, that has not made a significant impact.
Higher pay is not working to keep teachers in place. The states with the most critical need for teachers are California, Nevada, Washington, Arizona and Hawaii. But California has the 2nd highest teacher pay in the nation at $87,000 on average. New York has the highest teacher pay at $89,000.