PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There is a teacher shortage in Pennsylvania.
According to Governor Josh Shapiro, the state is down almost 15,000 new teacher certifications from a decade ago. Part of his budget plan calls for a tax incentive to recruit teachers.
"You want to make sure these kids have every opportunity possible to live their lives," Westinghouse teacher Sean Means said.
With the workload and wearing of so many hats to help kids be the best they can, it leaves teachers burned out.
It's showing across the state. Governor Shapiro said a decade ago, there were about 20,000 new teacher certifications. Last year, it was down to 6,100.
Shapiro wants to give a $2,500 tax incentive for three years for any new teacher. He's hoping this can turn that around.
"We're not only going to put dollars back in their pockets but hopefully send a very clear message that we value our teachers," the governor said Tuesday after touring Pittsburgh Colfax K-8 in Squirrel Hill.
The Pennsylvania State Educators Association said it appreciates the move but says this doesn't solve the bigger problem.
"If we can persuade more young adults to enter college teaching programs, we won't make a dent in this teacher shortage crisis," spokesperson Chris Lilienthal said.
They would like to see wages go up, something the governor hopes to do as well as create more respect for the profession.
"All of those things are going to hopefully go into making those certification numbers rise again," Shapiro said.
The Allegheny Intermediate Unit said another option is looking outside the box for teachers.
"What about those other folks that work with young people that didn't follow that traditional path," Executive Director Dr. Bob Scherrer said.
Means feels the governor's actions are a start but fixing what has been an ongoing issue for years is going to take time.
"If you want more teachers, when they ask for things, we should probably do our best to make those things happen," Means said.
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