After years of distributing pink slips, the tables have turned for school districts across the country that are now facing a disturbing shortage of teachers. The New York Times reports that Louisville, Ky; Providence, RI; and Oklahoma City are among large urban districts scrambling to fill hundreds of empty teaching positions in the fields of math, science, and special education. The U.S is also seeing increased enrollment of English-language learners, prompting additional demand for bilingual teachers. The situation is particularly dire in California, which terminated 82,000 teaching jobs between 2008-2012. This year, the state must fill 21,500 positions, though fewer than 15,000 new teaching credentials will be issued, according to the California Department of Education. As a result of the shortage, school districts are recruiting earlier, often overlooking a lack of classroom experience. It is becoming increasingly common for districts to hire individuals that are still undergoing training, instead of waiting for them to complete a credentialing program and stints as student teachers. Experts speculate the shortage is due to the years of job insecurity teachers faced during the recession, which coupled with a recovering economy, has made teaching an unappealing profession for upcoming professionals.
Contributor: Celeste Montaño