Pa. teacher shortage could result in lower quality education for K-12 students

Written by on April 12, 2021

Pa. teacher shortage could result in lower quality education for K-12 students

By Chloe Nouvelle

April 12, 2021

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

One thing that can’t be blamed on COVID-19: Pennsylvania has a shortage of teachers that could have consequences for the quality of education in the Lehigh Valley.

Listen to the story.

College students just aren’t pursuing teaching careers at the same rate they did a decade ago,  according to Edward J. Fuller, associate professor, professor in charge, and

director of the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy Analysis Educational Leadership Program in the Department of Education Policy Studies at the Pennsylvania State University.

He co-authored a study on the commonwealth’s supply and demand for K-12 teachers.

“Most of the districts in your area are facing a shortage, overall, of two or three teachers. Which may sound insignificant, but it just makes it much, much more difficult for the districts to find a suitable person for the position that they’re looking for,” Fuller says.  

This shortage doesn’t mean local districts have unfilled positions right now, he says, but filling those positions is harder.

“That’s one of the things we’re hearing from superintendents, they’re just like, ‘We have to pretty much take whoever applies because there’s not enough people who apply.’ So they’re hiring people who they normally wouldn’t hire,” Fuller adds.

 The effect could be a lower quality of education for Pennsylvania’s kids.

And Pennsylvania is not alone.

“Every state has seen a large decline in the number of people going into teaching. Pennsylvania has one of the five worst declines, though, in the entire nation,” Fuller says, “At 67 percent, we’ve experienced one of the greatest declines over the last decade.”

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