Arizona Teacher Shortage Goes From Bad To Worse

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer
Published: Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - 7:39am
Updated: Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - 8:18am

A second study on Arizona teachers now shows we not only started the school year 1,300 teachers short, but now nearly 900 of those either never showed up to work or quit.

The survey of 172 district and charter schools by the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association also found a majority of the positions are filled with instructors not yet certified and with minimal experience.

Schools have managed the gap by expanding experienced teachers' schedules, increasing class sizes and using long-term substitutes.

State Superintendent Diane Douglas isn't thrilled with the alternative solution allowing classroom interns to teach while pursuing a certification.

"A part of it is being an expert in your content area, in a way passionate about your subject area which, in my opinion, you don't get from taking 24 credits in a subject," Douglas said.

Douglas has proposed increasing the current 0.6 sales tax for education to a full penny, which she estimated would raise about $400 million, with one-third of that going toward a 10 percent pay raise for teachers.

Currently, Arizona is ranked 50th in the nation for elementary school teacher pay and 48th for high school instructor pay.

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