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Utah's school age population is growing by leaps and bounds. 14,000 students will be added to the public school system each year for the next ten years. Concurrently, a severe teacher shortage is developing. The likelihood of training, recruiting and hiring enough new teachers to meet the need is slim.
Critical challenges such as this one demand creative, even courageous solutions.
In KSL's view, that is precisely what a Special Task Force on Teacher Shortages has come up with after a thoughtful, in-depth study of Utah's education quandary.
Even with increased salaries and competitive benefits, it is unrealistic to think school districts will attract enough new teachers to do the job. Instead, the task force is recommending, among others things, that the use of existing teachers and capital facilities be maximized:
-Lengthen the school year!
-Hire teachers to work as many as 260 days instead of the 180-190 days they're now employed!
-Compensate them accordingly, thus reducing the tendency for teachers to work part-time summer jobs!
By maximizing efficiency, according to the Task Force, the teacher shortage could be significantly reduced, even eliminated.
KSL believes the study's recommendations warrant keen attention along with the courage, if deemed beneficial, to implement them. After all, the future of Utah's children is at stake.