Supply of Teachers Not Keeping Up with Demand

Supply of Teachers Not Keeping Up with Demand

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Sandra Yi ReportingThe demand for teachers here in Utah may soon outweigh the supply. That's according to a new study by Utah State University.

The full report isn't available yet, but we did get a copy of the executive summary. It says it's a reality, there may not be enough teachers to fill every classroom in the state.

Tiffany Cooke: "Tomorrow I'm going to have you read an article."

Tiffany Cooke will tell you, teaching is her passion. She's a teacher at West Hills Middle School.

Tiffany Cooke: "I love it so much that I tell everybody I know to be a teacher."

If only recruiting were that easy. Educators say the outlook isn't so promising.

Sean Mabey, Granite Education Association: "This year, I think we'll be fine. As the economy gets better and as teachers start looking at their retirement, I think we'll be in more serious trouble."

A new study by Utah State University bolsters his prediction. The study found schools will need to fill more than 11,000 teaching vacancies every year for the next 20 years to keep up with attrition and student growth.

Other main findings include: An additional 67,000 vacancies, based on current figures; schools lose 2,777 teachers per year, that includes a retirement rate of 3 percent; also, retirement rates are expected to increase nearly 5 percent over the next 10 years; and there are nearly 11,000 state licensed people not teaching in Utah schools.

Sean Mabey: "As we try to recruit new teachers to come into the profession, I think districts and other states will have to become more creative on how they try to sell themselves."

Educators say teacher pay and support are important.

Tiffany Cooke: "It's hard to encourage teachers with young families who are men supporting their families to stay in that profession, and I think that's why a lot of teachers choose to leave. And the few that choose to stay have to get by on that passion and motivation."

Cooke says teachers make sacrifices, but her students are the reward.

Tiffany Cooke: "When they say, 'You have made a big difference in my life,' that makes it all worthwhile."

The report says steps must be taken at all levels now to maintain the number and quality of teachers. USU researchers will present their findings and solutions to the State Board of Education on Friday.

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