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Teachers are in short supply, so states are easing job requirements

As schools across the South tackle shortage of teachersmany look to candidates without teaching them qualifications or undergoing any formal training.

Alabama administrators are increasingly hiring educators with emergency certifications, often in low-income, black-majority communities. Meanwhile, Texas allowed one of her about five new teachers to evade certification last year.

In Oklahoma, an “attached” program allows schools to recruit applicants without teacher training if they meet the qualifications of the local board. In Florida, veterans without a bachelor’s degree can teach for up to five years with a temporary certificate.

The decision to put traditional, untrained teachers in charge of the classroom requires weighing the trade-offs. unqualified candidateDo you teach children in crowded or substitute-led classes without being prepared?

“We’ve seen what happens when there are no teachers in the classroom. Dallas school trustee Maxie Johnson said the board of education has approved increasing the district’s reliance on uncertified teachers.” He added, “I want someone who can get the job done, which my principal has vetted and who my principal believes.”

An analysis of 2019-2020 data from 11 states by the Southern Regional Board of Education found that about 4% of teachers are uncertified or are teaching with urgent certification. Additionally, 10% were teaching outside the field. So, for example, you may be qualified to teach English in high school, but be assigned to a middle school math class.

By 2030, the group predicts, as many as 16 million K-12 students in the region could be taught by unprepared or inexperienced teachers.

shortage It’s getting worse and teacher morale continues to drop,” said non-profit organization Megan Boren.

In Texas, reliance on uncertified new hires has skyrocketed over the past decade. From 2011 he had fewer than 7% of the state’s new teachers (about 1,600) uncertified in the 2012 school year. By last year, about 8,400 of the state’s nearly 43,000 new hires were not certified.

The Dallas board of trustees has turned to state programs that allow school districts to circumvent certification requirements, often hiring industry experts in career-related classes. The school system employs 335 teachers through waivers as of mid-September.

In Alabama, approximately 2,000 of the state’s 47,500 teachers did not hold a full certificate in 2020-21, the most recent year for which data are available. That’s double what it was five years ago.

Nearly 7% of Alabama teachers were also in classrooms outside of their accredited field, with the highest percentage in rural areas with high poverty rates.

Although many states have eased requirements since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, relying on uncertified teachers is nothing new. Nearly every state has emergency or provisional licenses that allow those who do not meet the eligibility requirements to teach.

Shannon Holston, policy chief for the nonprofit National Council on Teacher Quality, said such hiring would only delay the inevitable.

In a 2016 study, the U.S. Department of Education reported that 1.7% of all teachers are not fully accredited. It rose to about 3% in schools with more students of color and English learners, as well as schools in urban and poor areas.

Such educator use may be focused on specific disciplines or content areas. One example: middle school in Alabama.

For example, in rural Block County, middle schools did not have a certified math teacher last year. Nearly 80% of the students are black, 20% are Hispanic, and seven of her ten of all students live in poverty.

Former county superintendent Christopher Blair struggled to recruit teachers for years. Poorer counties cannot compete with higher salaries in neighboring districts.

Blair, who resigned last spring, launched a program to certify county math and science teachers.

“But that is slowly changing as the teacher pool in all content areas dwindles,” he said.

Birmingham and Montgomery each have three secondary schools, and more than 20% of teachers are emergency certified.

Birmingham school spokesperson Sherrell Stewart said authorities would seek suitable candidates for emergency recognition and provide the necessary support through strong mentoring.

“You have to think outside the box,” she said. “The reality is that the number of applicants for education schools has dropped significantly, but the demand for quality educators still exists.”

Since lawmakers eased certificate restrictions in 2019, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of teachers holding emergency certificates in rural, urban, and low-income schools in Alabama. .

Alabama had the highest percentage of such teachers in the 2020-21 school year at a rural elementary school in Lowndes County, where 7 of 16 teachers had emergency certificates. , up from three in the previous year. Most of her 200 students at the school come from low-income families. Of the students tested that year, she reached only 1% of proficiency in mathematics.

For Dallas schools, “it’s not the thesis, it’s the passion,” says Robert Abel, the district’s director of human capital management.

Non-accredited Dallas employers (must have a college degree) participate in training on classroom management and effective teaching practices. Abel said the school district has received positive reports about the new teachers.

Some teacher groups are concerned about inconsistent expectations of potential teachers.

Good teachers need sensitivity and empathy to understand what motivates children and what might hinder them from learning, says Lee Vartanian, Dean of Athens State University. Bertanian, who oversees the Department of Education at the University of Alabama, said accreditation helps set professional standards to ensure teachers have the content expertise and ability to engage students.

Uncertified teachers may have some of that knowledge, but not the full extent, he said.

“They just aren’t prepared systematically,” he said.


Rebecca Griesbach of AL.com contributed to this report.


This article was written by Tackling Teacher Shortages in partnership with AL.com, Associated Press, The Christian Science Monitor, The Dallas Morning News, Fresno Bee California, Hechinger Report, The Seattle Times, The Post & Courier of Charleston. is part of , South Carolina, and the Solutions Journalism Network.

This story was created by Dallas Morning News Education Lab and the Alabama Institute of Education.


The Associated Press education team is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/national/2022/10/13/with-teachers-in-short-supply-states-ease-job-requirements/ Teachers are in short supply, so states are easing job requirements

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