AZ teacher shortage raises concerns over staffing for fall classes
With an ongoing teacher shortage in Arizona, concerns over not having enough educators for fall classes are rising.
The Arizona Education Association, known as the AEA, expects 10% to 15% of educators to quit after this school year. A recent study ranked Arizona as the worst state for teachers, with factors including lack of benefits and low salary. The state ranked last in median annual pay in 2021 while the average cost of living rose.
"There are thousands of positions open right now, and districts are fighting over applicants," Garcia said. "Mainly because not only is Arizona nationally known for having a low teacher salary, it's also known for having high housing,” said Marisol Garcia with the AEA.
Garcia says teachers are feeling inadequately supported in other ways, as well.
“Schools have turned into almost like a political football game for a lot of politicians," Garcia said. "So the added stress from the public shaming and the use of our profession for politics has really just hit home for a lot of folks."
Garcia says leaders across the state fear not having enough teachers to fill classrooms come fall, and that positions may end up being filled with under-qualified candidates.