The Arizona Tribune

Teacher Vacancy Stands at 23 Percent, Over Half the Schools’ Teachers Fail to Meet Standard: Survey

For the fourth consecutive year, schools in Arizona have failed to fill teachers’ spots. The teacher shortage issue is, therefore, not ready to die down yet as any solution does not seem near to sight. The scarcity was pointed out by a survey from the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA). It covered teacher vacancies vis-à-vis unfilled positions and teachers who quit as of December 12, 2018. It saw participation by 211 school districts and charter schools.

Around 23 percent of vacancies in the state is still unoccupied. The poll further reveals that over 50 percent of vacancies are filled by teachers “who do not meet Arizona standard teacher certification requirements.” Moreover, for the academic year 2018-2019, schools need to fill over 7.4 K teacher openings, the survey stated.

It is ironic that the recent education budget boost isolates the teachers whose pay is said to be the lowest in the country.

Arizona teacher shortage issue has been there for some time now and has continuously grabbed headlines with many dubbing it as an educational crisis. Early this year, Doug Ducey, Arizona Governor, expressed that he is fully committed to teachers. He also promised that his budget would reflect the commitment.

#RedForEd Movement 2018

April 2018 saw Arizona teachers coming together donning red shirts as they chanted and also carried placards to protest low pay outside the schools. Their demand from the state: higher salaries and better school funding. Hardly anything seems to have been changed since.

Foreign teachers to the rescue

For many foreign teachers, the salary is the best they have ever received. Many are teachers from the Philippines who made the cut after meeting several guidelines. According to the US State Department’s J-1 Visa Program, foreign teachers can work in American schools. However, they need to qualify for the program. It’s a must for foreign teachers to speak English, have a degree (an equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in teaching or the subject being taught), and also have teaching experience of three years.

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