In a stark about-face from just a few years ago, school districts have gone from handing out pink slips to scrambling to hire teachers.
Across the country, districts are struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science and special education — a result of the layoffs of the recession years combined with an improving economy in which fewer people are training to be teachers.
At the same time, a growing number of English-language learners are entering public schools, yet it is increasingly difficult to find bilingual teachers. So schools are looking for applicants everywhere they can — whether out of state or out of country — and wooing candidates earlier and quicker.
Some are even asking prospective teachers to train on the job, hiring novices still studying for their teaching credentials, with little, if any, classroom experience.
Louisville, Ky.; Nashville; Oklahoma City; and Providence, R.I., are among the large urban school districts having trouble finding teachers, according to the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents large urban districts. Just one month before the opening of classes, Charlotte, N.C., was desperately trying to fill 200 vacancies.
Nationwide, many teachers were laid off during the recession, but the situation was particularly acute in California, which lost 82,000 jobs in schools from 2008 to 2012, according to Labor Department figures. This academic year, districts have to fill 21,500 slots, according to estimates from the California Department of Education, while the state is issuing fewer than 15,000 new teaching credentials a year.
First things first- if, in a recession, the first thing you cut is teacher ranks, you’re just a moron from a pure investment standpoint (as recessions will generally require re-education and retraining of the workforce) and completely ignorant of basic macroeconomics, because public sector spending should be increased, and expanding education is a better way than most. So let’s just get that out of the way. Additionally, I guess a decade of slashing salaries to give tax cuts to those who don’t need them, vilifying them and their unions and blaming them for every societal ill, cutting benefits and lengthening hours, not supporting them and allowing parents and students to run roughshod over teaches, while acting like their pensions are a gift to ungrateful slobs instead of the delayed salary they negotiated for and took less up front so there would be something for their retirement may not have been the best fucking idea.
People aren’t stupid. They know a shitty job with unstable employment when they see it. Most people who become school teachers are already willing to forgo huge salaries because they love what they do- you add on the rest of the bullshit, and people say to hell with it and pursue other options.