As children return to school, Ohio faces a teacher shortage that could worsen

CLEVELAND, Ohio – As the children prepare for the start of another school year, they are hopefully well prepared with supplies ranging from backpacks to laptops and some of those same children are certainly hoping to land in the class of one or two favorite teachers.

But in some cases, students should just hope to land in a classroom with a full-time teacher, as the state faces a significant teacher shortage that some say shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

Scott DiMauro, president of the Ohio Teachers Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, said Ohio has lost 17,000 students from just 3 years ago and that number is part of a 15-year trend that has seen fewer and fewer students getting into education. a choice as a major from their college.

“If someone goes to college and gets a bachelor’s or master’s degree, schools have to be able to pay salaries that will inspire people to get an education,” DiMauro said.

Teachers’ salaries, benefits and working conditions are not keeping pace with what students have available to them after graduation in other fields and he thinks the problem will continue. to get worse.

“Some districts are struggling to fill vacancies, and other districts I’ve spoken to report that they have much smaller pools of candidates than before,” he said.

The Cleveland Municipal School District just completed what it called a successful recruiting effort to recruit more teachers.

In June, the district had 254 teaching positions, but in the past few weeks it has been able to hire over 100 teachers and is now down to 150 positions, which certainly seems like a lot, but the district points out that they are staffed at 95% and many of these openings are for specialist classes that are traditionally more difficult to fill.

Bob Scott is the superintendent of schools for Avon Lake and said the district has been very successful in hiring teachers, but it’s not been an easy process and the pool of applicants is definitely not as strong as it is. has seen it in the past.

“The shortage of teachers is real and it will get worse, we are currently at the point where retirements and retirements are not met by people coming out of university who are qualified to teach “Scott said.

Pay, according to Scott, is clearly the number one issue, and districts need to be able to compete financially for the best and brightest students before the trend is slowed.

DiMauro agrees, but also points out that working conditions for teachers and programs that properly align student teachers with the reality of today’s public schools are essential to ensuring that there will be enough teachers to staff schools even in the near future.