March 13, 2021

Teacher shortages may make it difficult to reopen school safely

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Teacher shortages were a problem prior to the pandemic, but the issue has grown worse during the COVID-19 pandemic and threatens to jeopardize districts’ ability to reopen safely in California, according to a report from Learning Policy Institute.

The results show shortages in smaller rural districts are more severe, especially in math and science, and the shift back to in-person learning with smaller class sizes will further stretch the workforce. Workload and burnout are cited as concerns, as are increasing numbers of retirements and resignations.

The problem is exacerbated in the pipeline by teacher license testing policies and inadequate financial aid to complete preparation programs. The report suggests building high-retention pathways into education through teacher residency, which makes the profession more affordable and attainable, citing California’s Golden State Teacher Grant Program as an example of financial supports that help recruit and retain new teachers in high-need areas and subjects.

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