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State K research breaks down teacher shortage by state

MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) – Research from Kansas State University broke down the teacher shortage by state and found that for the previous school year, about 1,200 positions were open in the Sunflower State.

As millions of students head back to class for the new school year, Kansas State University says a new report from its College of Education has revealed the extent of the teacher shortage across the country — which could provide the first set of data on the issue by state.

K-State reported that “Is there a national teacher shortage? A Systematic Review of Reports on Teacher Shortages in the United States” was published as a working paper by Brown University’s Anneberg Institute by Tuan Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, and Chanh Bao Lam, data analyst.

The two K-State researchers worked alongside University of Illinois – Paul Bruno de Champaign as third author.

The university noted that the three augmented existing data from federal and state agencies with publicly available news stories and information to analyze each state’s teaching vacancies. They then grouped the data into three categories to compare.

The report also includes an overview of the number of underqualified people currently teaching to fill these vacancies.

Nguyen said it’s difficult to categorize the teacher shortage because reports vary from state to state and agency to agency.

“Overall, there are at least 36,500 vacancies as well as 163,000 underqualified people in teaching positions across the United States,” Nguyen said. “These vacancies represent 1.67% of teaching positions nationally, with approximately 5.16% of positions filled by underqualified school district employees.”

K-State reported that the 11 states in Group 1 have the clearest vacancies. Florida leads the nation with about 4,000 unfilled teaching positions for the 2021-22 school year, followed by Illinois with 1,703 and Arizona with 1,699. Other states in this group include Utah, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, Colorado, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, the university said the 26 states — plus Washington, DC — in the second group had less clear information about job vacancies. He said Georgia ranks first in that category with 3,112 open positions for the 2019-20 school year — the latest year with available data — followed by Mississippi and Alabama — each with more than 3. 000 vacancies in the 2020-21 school year.

K-State noted that Wisconsin is the only state in this category with vacancies in the 2000s. It said North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kansas, New Mexico, Virginia- Occidental and Maryland reported more than 1,000 vacancies. Meanwhile, Indiana reported 980 vacancies and Rhode Island reported 93.

The university said the remaining 13 states — Alaska, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming — had no information on vacancies. However, the states had significant numbers of underqualified teachers – including up to 24,000 positions in California.

“We need more accurate and timely data to make targeted policy decisions in the face of these significant teacher staffing challenges,” Nguyen said. “To that end, our report contains several recommendations for district and state policymakers to consider when addressing local teacher shortages.”

To see the raw counts reported by each state, click HERE.

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