The search for teachers continues in some districts:
“Despite heavy recruitment efforts that have become more expensive and time-consuming, USD 457 Garden City still is looking for 15 teachers and other districts in the area also have openings, with school starting next week.”
Now is too late, of course, to make significant changes to policy. But Kansas ought to consider changes that might make future recruiting easier, such as flexible pay schools. Move away from years-of-service and number-of-credits pay to performance pay and according to market conditions. If people with science degrees can make more money working in industry than they can teaching, why shouldn’t they be paid more–and by more, we mean more than someone with an education degree whose prospects are more limited?
“Garden City isn’t the only school district having trouble staffing all its classrooms. As of June, there were 1,100 teacher vacancies in Kansas, and administrators say the shortage is nationwide.
USD 214 Ulysses still has two teaching openings this week, and two other positions will be filled with long-term substitutes, said Superintendent Bill Hall.”
Why can’t the substitutes be given permanent jobs? The article doesn’t say, nor does it speculate on whether the individuals have the knowledge and skills to do the job. Perhaps the problem is arcane and obsolete requirements concerning teacher credentials?
Speaking of which …
“”The one teaching vacancy in USD 363 Holcomb is an early childhood special education teacher employed by the High Plains Educational Cooperative, which provides special education services in the area. The position opened on Monday, a week and a half before school starts, Superintendent Robert O’Connor said.
He said Holcomb also has been searching for a counselor since Liz Sosa left the position about two weeks ago to become director of business retention at Finney County Economic Development Corp. — and it’s not having much luck. Although he’s received several applications from candidates with counseling experience, he hasn’t heard from any who also have teaching experience, a requirement for certification in Kansas.
‘That’s one of those certification flaws that’s jumping up and biting us,’ O’Connor said.”
USD457 is making a few changes, such as recruiting in other states.
“Additionally, the salary schedule is structured so that the hire of a less-experienced or less-educated teacher costs less than paying a long-serving veteran with more degrees.”
Here again is a logic that has little direct correlation with what we actually pay schools do to–teach children.
There are a few other changes underway, too:
“The frustration has reached the Kansas State Board of Education, which approved in June new teacher licensure regulations that make it easier for Kansas school districts to hire teachers from other states or countries, as long as they pass exams in the subjects they teach. The new policy also allows a teacher with an endorsement in one science subject to gain an additional endorsement by passing an exam.”
The article suggests also that schools need to pay teachers more. But again, this should be done according to the particular need; mere across-the-board increases will waste funds that could be spent on the hardest-to-staff areas.
The article closes by reminding us that working conditions (most notably, No Child Left Behind) play a role, too. There’s certainly room for talking about that.
Teaching slots still open, Garden City Telegram, August 7