Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Teacher/Substitute Shortage a Strain in Washington State

OSPI has released their survey and its subsequent findings about teacher shortages in Washington State.

The survey

The findings.

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.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

My district (not Seattle) has a substitute shortage because of money, not qualified people. There's apparently a (significant enough) cost to having people on the sub roster, even if they never get called, so it was paired down to almost nil. I expect that many other districts are in the same boat.
I know a lot of folks who left teaching after the first year because of poor placement and support as well. There's no shortage of qualified people, it's the number of people willing to put up with the ever-increasing burden that's decreasing. I can make more money in less time waitressing. Going back to the service industry gets more and more tempting every time the legislature convenes.

Outta Here

Anonymous said...

My district (not Seattle) has a substitute shortage because of money, not qualified people. There's apparently a (significant enough) cost to having people on the sub roster, even if they never get called, so it was paired down to almost nil. I expect that many other districts are in the same boat.
I know a lot of folks who left teaching after the first year because of poor placement and support as well. There's no shortage of qualified people, it's the number of people willing to put up with the ever-increasing burden that's decreasing. I can make more money in less time waitressing. Going back to the service industry gets more and more tempting every time the legislature convenes.

Outta Here

Anonymous said...

I am unclear how under 40% of those surveyed are valid to decide if there is a "crisis"

There is no "crisis" just a reality that Substitutes are a dying breed, literally as they are largely retirees and the few that rely on this as income are finding better job,or are still doing the job and the fact that fewer people are entering the profession overall.

And after that strike that lasted what 7 days? And resolved what exactly? The following week 25 people were "displaced" whatever that means.

- Highly amused

Anonymous said...

It would help if there were other avenues to get certified. For instance, if you have a PhD in science, you might need only some training in classroom management (as most have already taught college classes). But most PhD would not want to do an additional 2 years to get a teaching certificate.

-PhD

Anonymous said...

Instead of the silly "internships" of ed students they need to have a year of subbing under their belts, they could be paid lower rates, saving schools money, have a wealth of experience and exposure to schools, grades, etc to ensure they know what they are getting into and can network etc. I have a neighbor who has a masters degree and a credential to teach social studies, she is not working as a teacher nor as a sub either as she doesn't feel that teaching English as an option. She does not want to spend 10K to get another credential and the time and expertise needed to study the field to be an effective teacher. Been to some of the block classes and see how those are working out. Not always the best idea. One is sacrificed for the other.

How you can teach two utterly different components, grades and levels makes it difficult to be a master. And then again here we are supposedly able to wear all the hats to teach all subject well. Well then my accountant should be also able to be my Architect.

But this is about a Teacher and Sub shortage. As for the Teacher shortage well this is across the country and yet this is not the case when you speak to qualified teachers. Much has to do with budgets and money. This many mean having Teachers who will take the lowest pay scale and then move on in the 4 year window to dispose of them and get the new recruits in. Churn and burn.

As or substitutes, that shortage is of course man made School dynamics and districts set into motion the shortage effect. The district schedules trainings on same day leaving massive numbers of teachers out on that day. You have the retirees picking and choosing the schools they "will" work at to make their 50 day count, professional subs who have second jobs in other districts or jobs to make ends meet as subbing is crap wages for an equally crap job. Ever been to a school where the adults never acknowledge you, address you by name, introduce themselves to you or you to the students when you are sharing/co-teaching? Why would anyone go back there? And word travels.

The lack of training. A 4 hour training on white privilege could be better spent on training curriculum or software or hardware used in schools to better enable and of course teach students as opposed to "minding" them with inappropriate videos/movies with little to no connection nor accountability.

There are subs would love to work in many fields such as SPED or Reading or other demand areas but wages do not allow any opportunity to do so. Why not? So those jobs go unfilled both permanent and temporary. Some training and some co-teaching mentor program for already degreeed/trained teachers or even aids who want to move up... way better than the TFA/Fellowship nonsense.

The blame game. The endless blaming subs for problems that occur in the classroom. Again support and training. My favorite is an admin walking in standing in the door, then shutting it and leaving. Message loud and clear then finding a note that says you are banned from a building for your lack of classroom management. Okay then. Due process you say for students and expulsion? Well they don't for adults who work in the district so why special treatment for the students. (That supposedly has changed with the new union contract.. yeah sure you betcha) They simply don't do paperwork and change the subfinder to block you without ever knowing.

Or we can do what they are doing in Minnesota in one town putting kids in the common areas of lunchroom or library with a laptop or an Ipad and some "authority" observing them. Good practice to see if that could be extended to include Teachers some day.

- Foot Soldier

Anonymous said...

There are many districts that are no longer requiring a teaching certificate for subs. Most of the mid-Columbia basin schools don't require teacher certification because they can't find any subs. Shoreline also does not require a teaching certificate anymore, and there were a couple more down in the south sound. The lower paying districts have more trouble finding subs than the higher paying ones.

CT

Anonymous said...

Subs? Subs aren't really a problem. You just use your building's special education staff. Voila! No sub problem. The disabled kids never complain.

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