OSPI has released their survey and its subsequent findings about teacher shortages in Washington State.
From the survey:
This survey was distributed on November 11, 2015, to public school principals in Washington by the Association of Washington School Principals. As of the date of this report, 733 principals have responded of the estimated 2,100 principals, for a return rate of 35%. The survey was developed by OSPI, the Rural Education Center, PESB, AWSP, and ESD representatives. It was piloted with the Elementary School Principals’ Board of AWSP.
The first question sets the stage:
In fall 2015, were you able to employ all of your needed classroom teacher positions with fully-certified teachers that met the job qualifications (not including individuals with emergency certificates)?
The answer was yes but only by 55.3% versus no at 44.8%.
To another question about "your school's ability to hire candidates for your teaching openings," 23.8% said they were in "crisis mode - We cannot find qualified certificated candidates." (The "struggling but getting by mode" category was 68.9% and the "doing fine, no difficulty finding candidates" was 7.2%.)
The most difficult category to find certificated teachers was - no surprise - Special Education by far. The second most difficult category to fill was Elementary K-8, followed by Math and Science.
In terms of finding substitutes, 54% of principals said they were in that "crisis mode" or "struggling but getting by mode" at 43.7%.
One issue seems to be the new "Highly Qualified" requirements where 60.9% of principals said they had a "significant" challenge.
One question asked how often a principal had to cover a class in the last five days because there was no sub available. The answer was Yes by 73.7% of principals.
Another interesting category was moving to full-day K and what were the issues for principals vis a vis space and/or finding qualified teachers. Seventy-three percent already had full-day K but for the rest who don't, 20% said that space/finding teachers was a barrier.
Finding the space/teachers for the mandated reductions for K-3 appears to be a challenge for over 75% of principals who answered.
The Findings indicate that substitute shortages are evident throughout Washington State with the center of the state finding it the hardest.
In terms of finding qualified teachers, it appears that urban districts are finding it the most difficult especially at low-income schools.