According to a survey from the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association, nearly one quarter of Arizona teacher vacancies remain unfilled.
The survey included 211 school districts and charter schools.
“The major finding is that we’re continuing to see a teacher shortage throughout the state, and it is continuing to be a problem for us as we try to fill positions within our schools and school districts,” said Laura Elizondo, the association’s president. “About 22 percent of positions still remain vacant, so that’s about 1,600, close to 1,700, positions that still remain vacant at this time of the year.”
It was also discovered that over half of the occupied positions are held by educators who do fall short on the state’s standard teacher certification requirements.
Included in the process of filling vacancies with alternative certification methods were emergency teaching, student intern, subject matter expert or long-term substitute certificates, Elizondo said.
“It’s concerning to fill positions with staff members that are not appropriately certified … because they don’t come with that background knowledge of the ins and outs of that career path, so they require additional support,” Elizondo said.
Within the first half of the school year, over 900 teachers either abandoned or resigned from the roles.
“The numbers ultimately continue to show that we are in a crisis for teachers,” she said. “It’s all showing that we need more teachers in the classroom that have the training, that have the certification, that understand what the career requires of them, and we’re just not there yet.”