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School districts across the country under the wire to hire hundreds of teachers before the start of the school year

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School districts across the country are struggling to fill hundreds of open teaching positions in the remaining weeks of summer before the start of the school year.

“Truly, in my time in education, I have never seen such a shortage of teachers,” Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras in Virginia said last month at a school reunion.

The school district said it had 209 vacant teaching positions as of mid-July. About a month later, the district is now rushing to fill 144 vacant teaching positions with just two weeks until the start of the school year, WRIC reported.

The district plans to employ long-term substitute teachers for about 100 of the positions to help fill the gaps, while actively recruiting teachers throughout the school year. The district also implemented a $10,000 bonus incentive initiative for new teachers and a $1,000 incentive for current teachers to stay in their jobs.

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A teacher walks around the class as young students work. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)
(Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

“So we think that between the long term [substitute teachers]additional hiring over the next two weeks and some leveling of positions so that every class is covered on the first day of school,” Kamras said, according to WRIC.

The Richmond School District is far from alone in facing a staff shortage just weeks before the start of the school year.

School districts across the country have been grappling with an exodus of teachers since the pandemic. A survey conducted earlier this year by the National Center for Education Statistics found that 44% of public schools report having vacancies for full-time or part-time teachers.

The survey, released in March, found that 61% of public schools reporting at least one vacancy cite the pandemic for open jobs. Most vacancies were due to resignations, not retirements, according to the survey.

Similar to Richmond, Durham Public Schools is racing to fill 270 certified teacher vacancies and 73 graded teacher vacancies with just two weeks until the school year begins.

Durham’s deputy superintendent of schools said the district is trying to fill some of the positions through a teacher candidate program, with DPS recruiters talking to high school students about education as a career before d to graduate from high school, WRAL reported.

A young Afghan boy looks at a laptop in a computer classroom at the National Conference Center (NCC), which has been redesigned in recent months to temporarily house Afghan nationals August 11, 2022 in Leesburg, Virginia.  (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

A young Afghan boy looks at a laptop in a computer classroom at the National Conference Center (NCC), which has been redesigned in recent months to temporarily house Afghan nationals August 11, 2022 in Leesburg, Virginia. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“We can catch them early and know before they even graduate from high school that they will indeed be DPS teachers,” Deputy Superintendent Dr. Alvera Lesane said, according to local media.

The same has been reported at schools in Miami-Dade, where the district is working to fill 224 teaching positions, Axios reported Monday. In Dallas, the Independent School District reported 82 vacancies earlier this month. And in New Jersey, the Sayreville School District reported two dozen open teaching positions at its high school and middle school.

Recent law changes in Arizona amid the state’s staffing crisis now allow those enrolled in college, without a bachelor’s degree yet earned, to begin teaching in public schools. While Florida has sought to hire veterans to help fill the nearly 8,000 vacancies across the state.

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“If you’ve served in the military for at least four years or been honorably discharged, earned 60 college credits, and passed a subject matter exam, we want you to be able to teach students in Florida,” Governor Ron DeSantis said. last week.

Staffing shortages have begun to plague school districts across the country during the pandemic, as teachers have reported burnout resulting from uncertainty during shutdowns, including the shift to remote learning, blended learning and finally the return to classroom instruction.

PARENTS FEEL SHORTAGE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS

A "firm" sign outside a public elementary school in Grand Rapids, Michigan in March 2020.

A “closed” sign in front of a public elementary school in Grand Rapids, Michigan in March 2020.
(Stock)

About 300,000 public school teachers and staff left the field between February 2020 and May 2022, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A National Education Association survey in February found that 55% of teachers said they were considering leaving the profession, and 79% of teachers said they were dissatisfied with their careers, according to a July survey by the American Federation of Teachers. .

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“Teachers have gone from in-person learning one day to fully virtual learning the next,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told Spectrum News this week. “While we recognize that our teachers have bent over backwards, we really need to make sure that when we reopen schools, we listen to what our parents and teachers have to say.”

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