Teacher Shortage

A rural community in our area is experiencing a critical shortage in teachers.

Gadsden county officials are now in the process of recruiting educators to fill positions opening up because of state's drop program. That program forces teachers to retire after a certain number of years.

Kelle Pierce is one of Gadsden County's newly hired elementary school teachers, and as a new graduate pierce says she was looking for a job closer to home.

"Gadsden County was in need of teachers really badly and I came here to apply for music, but they needed a kindergarten teacher so I said okay, I wanted a job so they hired me,” Pierce says.

Pierce is one of a few teachers who applied for a position with a low starting salary. The beginning pay for Gadsden County teachers with a bachelor’s degree is a little more than $26,000, but next door in Leon County, the starting salary is $27,600.

School officials are hoping the legislature will help them boost teacher pay.

Though the district does not have the funds to offer monetary incentives, like sign-on bonuses. Teachers like Pierce say the love of teaching should be the bonus.

A lesson pierce hopes all teachers will heed.

The county expects to lose some 40 teachers who are in the drop program. They're hoping to attract teachers with the newly built state of the art East Gadsden County High School.

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Teacher Shortages

  • Nationwide, some 2.4 million teachers will be needed in the next 11 years because of teacher attrition, retirement, and increased student enrollment.

  • The projection jumps as high as 2.7 million when researchers factor in declining student/teacher ratios based on nationwide class size reduction efforts.

  • By 2008, public school enrollment will exceed 54 million.

  • Enrollment in elementary schools is expected to increase by 17 percent.

  • Enrollment in high schools is expected to increase by 26 percent.

  • In high-poverty urban and rural districts alone, more than 700,000 new teachers will be needed in the next 10 years.

  • Twenty percent of all new hires leave teaching within three years.

Source: www.nea.org/teaching/shortage (National Education Association) contributed to this report