Rural school districts face special challenges in recruiting teachers
- Superintendent Kendra Anderson recounts the challenges she faces in finding teachers to serve a small rural school district in Colorado, Chalkbeat reports.
- Since 2010, the state has seen a 24 percent drop in graduates from traditional teacher prep programs due, in part, to lack of competitive pay and increasing responsibilities thrust on teachers, particularly in low-income areas.
- Attempts at licensing reform legislation have been backed by the Colorado Rural Schools Alliance, but opposed by the state’s teachers' union.
When it comes to attracting teachers, rural school districts face more than the ubiquitous challenges of low pay combined with increasing responsibilities. Rural districts often present housing challenges and lower teaching supplements than larger areas. Teachers who come to rural districts also often feel isolated in areas that offer little in the way of social entertainment.
States across the nation are facing teacher shortages not only in certain geographic areas, such as inner-city and rural schools. They are also facing challenges in subject areas such as science, math, and special education. In order to address these challenges, some states and school districts are adopting emergency measures to lower the qualifications for teachers. While licensing reform is clearly needed in some areas, balancing the need for quality educators with the needs to encourage minority candidates and attract enough educators to fill voids is proving to be a challenge.
School districts are having to focus more time, effort and money on recruiting than ever before. At the same time, many experienced teachers are leaving the profession due to changes in educational approaches, which put them under more scrutiny than in the past and cause them to spend an inordinate amount of time in documenting their efforts. In the past, teaching was considered a respected calling. Before the teaching shortage can be truly addressed, it needs to become that once again.