High Demand U.S. Areas for Math Teachers
- Arizona and Nevada
According to the Association of Math Teacher Educators (AMTE) and the Learning Policy Institute, teacher shortages could represent a coming crisis in public education. The District of Columbia and 42 states have reported math instructor shortages. Combined with increased enrollments and adding classes that were cut during the 2008 economic downturn, AMTE reports that school districts across America are planning to reduce pupil-teacher ratios and hire as many math faculty as possible. Workforce attrition, especially among math teachers, accounts for the loss of thousands of teachers a year. High population states like California are experiencing the greatest shortage of math instructors, along with some other areas of the country, according to the AMTE.
California's Math Teacher Shortage
According to a 2016 report in the Los Angeles Times, 75% of California's school districts reported challenges in filling teaching positions, especially in science and math. Teachers are leaving their jobs for a variety of reasons, many ranging from low salaries that can't support housing in high-cost areas like the San Francisco Bay Area, to long hours spent teaching students to pass standardized tests. In most California schools, between 20 and 40% leave the profession during their first five years of work. Urban school districts in the state have an attrition rate of 50% during the first five years.
Arizona and Nevada Shortages
Arizona had over 1,000 unfilled teacher jobs in 2016, and continues to advertise for math instructors. The state has temporarily lowered entry level requirements to teach middle school and lower level high school math classes. Military veterans are also being recruited to be substitute teachers. Nevada has also experienced teacher shortages, and has boosted pay and benefits to attract new teachers. Math and science teachers are in the shortest supply in the state, and could receive a $5,000 hiring bonus.
Indiana Teacher Shortages
Indiana has had a drop of over 30 percent in new teacher licenses since 2011, causing the state to take action to recruit and train new teachers. Indiana teacher candidates can receive scholarships and student loan assistance if they commit to teaching at least five years after they graduate. The state has also received federal grants to train math and special education teachers.
Oklahoma Teacher Shortages
Oklahoma has struggled with teacher shortages for years, primarily as a result of low salaries and many rural school districts. The state had a shortage of about 1,000 teachers last year and had a high need for qualified math teachers. Currently, the state is granting emergency teacher certificates. In some cases, teachers with no certificates or credentials are allowed to teach for one year.
Hawaii Teacher Shortages
Hawaii also experienced a teacher in 2016 despite extensive advertising to hire new teachers. The state began the 2016 school year with almost 500 unfilled teaching positions. Although a highly desirable place to live, more than 16% of Hawaii's schools are considered to be rural schools, and salaries are low, starting at $35,324 for teachers who aren't yet certified to teach in the state.
Other countries with high-performing school systems like Singapore and Ontario, Canada have low attrition rates, often less than half of the average in the United States. Most teachers who leave the profession cite dissatisfaction with working conditions, job expectations and being asked to do too much work with too little sign of success. Math teachers can be eligible for forgiveness of their Federal education loans, and can also receive hiring bonuses, extra pay and many additional perks if they are willing to teach in a high-need area.
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