It is hard to know exactly how many U.S. classrooms are short of teachers for the 2022-2023 school year. Experts point to a confluence of factors including pandemic-induced teacher exhaustion, low pay and some educators’ sense that politicians and parents — and sometimes their own school board members — have little respect for their profession. The stopgap solutions for lack of staff run the gamut, from offering teachers better pay to increasing the pool of people who qualify as educators to bumping up class sizes. But many of these temporary fixes are likely to harm students by diminishing their ability to learn, a Nevada state education official says. “The political situation in the United States, combined with legitimate aftereffects of covid has created this shortage,
Nevada’s Clark County School District has raised the starting teacher salary by $7,000 and is offering a $4,000 “relocation bonus” to new teachers who move from out of state or more than 100 miles. A new state law in Arizona, signed by Gov. Doug Ducey last month, allows college students to take teaching jobs. A similar law, which took effect in Florida on July 1, offers K-12 teaching jobs to military veterans who served for at least four years. Arizona's Tucson Independent School District is considering making up for a dearth of math teachers by sending a small number of students into online learning for part of the day. Wisconsin's Madison school district is still working to fill 199 teacher vacancies and 124 non-teaching positions.
In Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia’s largest district, 97 percent of teaching positions are filled. The district of nearly 179,000 students is now making an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to fill those jobs. One possible strategy is to send administrators with teaching licenses back into classrooms, superintendent says. The Fairfax Education Association president says she has never in her career seen so many teachers leaving the job because they feel disrespected.