Lawmakers Aim to Stop Teaching Shortage

Lawmakers Aim to Stop Teaching Shortage

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Paul Nelson and AP Reporting State lawmakers are continuing their search to find ways to stem Utah's teacher shortage, keep the teachers it's got now and entice more to take up the career.

A national teacher shortage is hitting Utah school districts hard. A number of Wasatch Front districts had unfilled positions when school started this fall. There are particularly shortages in special education, math and science teachers, despite an eight-year state incentive program offering bonuses to new college graduates taking those jobs.

"Twenty-three hundred teachers left the classroom and one-third of those were brand new teachers who had just started that year," explained Amber Schwartz, spokesperson for the Utah Education Association.

The Subcommittee on Teacher Shortages, Quality and Compensation will make recommendations in November.

"What UEA would like to see is the same kind of work, that we don't look for the quick fix, that we look for the long-term solution," Schwartz said.

Lawmakers are considering increasing teacher salaries and starting a loan forgiveness program to lure more teachers into Utah schools.

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