Iowa is Short 12,000 Teachers — Why? How do we fix it?
According to the Teach Iowa website, there are over 12,000 teaching positions open across the state.
Some school districts have had to cancel classes due to the massive void, and others extended their Thanksgiving break two weeks ago. The shortage was amplified when schools returned to in-class teaching as opposed to Zoom calls, which, every teacher I know has established that the virtual teaching was largely ineffective, no matter the age of their students.
The amplification came from fear of COVID-19 (especially for older teachers), and kcrg.com adds this:
Union members said there was a need to increase pay, work on collective bargaining, housing needs, and incentives for people to want to teach in Iowa.
Kevin McDermott of the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) had this to say to KCRG:
They feel burnt out. I have said this for years, teachers make it work. Lack of resources, they will get it done. This is the first time that they’ve said ‘I can’t do this anymore.'
Coy Marquardt, also with the ISEA, said that it also has to do with setting up students to want to be teachers going forward, according to cbs2iowa.com:
Things that we don’t do very well I think is really talking to our students in K-12 about a career in education. We set up all these programs for other things like business and ag and medical.
Added ideas include paying student teachers (who have to page college tuition in order to student teach full-time for a semester), lessening teaching requirements (like hours of training), the needs for endorsements could be lightened as well.
Iowa State Senator Liz Mathis, who represents Linn County, held a roundtable with members of education from Linn-Mar and Marion Independent school districts in order to address the issue on November 11. This included teachers, principals, superintendents, and school board members. She held another on November 13 in Manchester.
Iowa News Now added that Mathis will be holding one more roundtable regarding the subject, scheduled for tomorrow:
- December 6, 4:00-6:00, Howard-Winneshiek Community School District. 1000 Schroder Dr., Cresco, IA 52136