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School districts nationwide struggling to fill teaching positions

School districts struggling to fill jobs amid teacher burnout
School districts struggling to fill jobs amid teacher burnout 01:55

BOSTON – School districts across the country are having a tough time keeping teachers in the classroom as low pay, burnout and parental demands are all contributing to staffing shortages.

According to a recent survey, nearly 45% of public schools nationwide have at least one vacant teaching position and more than half of the schools report feeling generally understaffed.

"I don't believe there's going to be enough teachers in the short term," Tonja Eagan of Kappa Delta Pi said.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, added demands combined with low pay and low morale led to faster departures from teaching during and after the pandemic.

These reasons also have less people interested in entering the profession.

"Teacher burnout is very, very high. There have been way more responsibilities added without anything else being added such as help, such as more time," student teacher Nicole Nissel said.

The survey shows that resignations and retirements are the leading causes for unfilled positions in public schools and that 61% of schools identified the pandemic as a cause of increased vacancies. But Kappa Delta Pi, an organization that mentors future teachers, says there's been a problem even before the pandemic.

"Even before COVID, 50% of teachers would quit teaching within the first 5 years," Eagan said.

President Biden, Democratic lawmakers, and about a dozen Republican and Democratic governors, including Massachusetts gov. Maura Healey, are proposing higher educator pay.

The average public school teacher salary in the 2020-2021 school year was about $61,000. Some teachers argue the pay just doesn't equal the work anymore.

When it comes to those proposals to increase teacher pay, a recent survey by Education Next found that 60% of Americans are in favor. That's the highest level in the 15 years since they've been doing the survey.

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