Pennsylvania school districts are struggling to fill teaching positions as kids get ready to return to class.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the state will require thousands of new teachers by the year 2025, yet fewer students are majoring in education in college and more teachers are retiring.
Statistics from Pennsylvania’s Department of Education show that the number of new teachers getting their licenses has dropped by almost two-thirds in the last ten years.
Ten years ago, over 20,000 new teachers joined the labor sector annually; last year, that number dropped to around 6,000. As a result, educational institutions have been hard pressed to find sufficient personnel to fill vacancies.
Some local superintendents have reported having difficulty filling teaching positions in school systems in Washington, Greene, and Fayette counties. No one applied to be a high school chemistry teacher after the district put up ads for many weeks. Two elementary-level special education positions, a life skills teacher and an autistic support teacher, were unfilled for a long time due to a lack of applicants.
Superintendents are aware of the fact that there are fewer qualified people to interview for teaching jobs.
The state department of education released a plan last month to increase the number of qualified teachers in the state over the next three years.
The plan aims to make teachers more diverse (less than 7% of Pennsylvania’s teachers are people of color, and it’s hard for teacher preparation programs to find more diverse candidates), to make certification easier, to improve training for people who want to become teachers, and to give teachers more opportunities for professional growth and leadership.
There are a number of factors contributing to the scarcity of qualified educators, including low wages, increased workloads, negative student conduct, increased partisanship, and concerns about student and staff safety. Superintendents claim that the situation has worsened due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In addition to a severe lack of available instructors, schools are suffering from a severe lack of available substitute teachers.
To help with the shortage, Pennsylvania recently gave emergency teaching permits to people with a bachelor’s degree but no teaching license who want to work as day-to-day substitute teachers.
Those interested in getting emergency permission to substitute teach in a particular district should get in touch with that district to learn more about its unique substitute teacher standards, methods, procedures, and remuneration.