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VCSC Feels The Effects Of State Wide Teacher Shortage

Schools are in desperate need of licensed teachers

Vigo County - Schools all over the country are experiencing a shortage in qualified teachers.
Vigo County is feeling those effects directly as they are trying to navigate the shortage while still giving students a quality education.
A school without teachers isn't something people like to think about but it is the harsh reality that Indiana schools are moving towards if changes aren't made.
Vigo County schools are recognizing the issue and have had to make some decisions that are not exactly ideal.

VCSC is just one district in a pool of 91% of Indiana schools that report a teacher shortage.

"I saw the decline here in Vigo County probably about three years ago. And now I think it is going back in the other direction," says Mick Newport, VCSC HR Director.

Newport says things are turning around but they're not completely in the clear yet.

"The Department of Education for Indiana has issued more teaching licenses this year than many of the years in the past. So the number of teaching licenses being issued in the state of Indiana has greatly increased," says ISU School of Education Professor, Dr. Terry McDaniel. He continues, "the sad thing is for the fourth year in a row, this year 93 percent of the districts that turned the survey back into me reported teacher shortages."

McDaniel does an annual survey on teacher shortages. His research shows an overall deficit but there is a major lack in teachers specialized in special education, math, and science.

"The pool of qualified applicants has decreased," says Newport.

Because of the wording and level of the teacher licensing exam, McDaniel says graduates are having trouble passing the test some having to take it upwards of 15 times, "teachers could not pass the test because it was too difficult."

The shortage also stems from issues that arise after a teacher has entered the classroom full time. McDaniel says, "there is young people coming into the profession that once they get in, they get out in the first five years." He Says this is typically related to new teachers not feeling supported by their principals and the lack of earning potential. "There are teachers that are up towards the top of the experience, 20 years or more, that are burning out because they are tired of dealing with the discipline issues, the lack of support, and the high accountability that the legislators have put on teachers."

In 2018 94% of schools stated that they struggled to find qualified applicants so what's the answer?
More money?
More support?
More autonomy?

"So there is no one automatic fix, but there is a lot of things that need to happen," says McDaniel.

It is important to note that sometimes a teacher may be called "unqualified" if they are licensed but teaching outside of their expertise.
But everyone who is instructing a classroom is held to the same standards and benchmarks to ensure that every student is learning at the appropriate level.
Vigo County has not seen a significant drop in test scores since hiring more emergency or temporarily licensed staff.

CLICK HERE to see what Vigo County is doing to address the teacher shortage in part two of this story.
 


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