The problem has been getting worse over the past 30 to 40 years, says Gary Funk, director of the collaborative. "As more teachers reach retirement age in those school districts, there isn’t any policy to attract new teachers to those positions," he told Carey. "This is a tsunami that has been building up for some time." It's especially hard to find teachers at the secondary level, and in math, science, technical education, and special education, he said.
Though the negative aspects of rural teaching, like the frequent lack of broadband access, are well known, there are positives too, like smaller class size, Carey reports. The collaborative hopes rural school districts will use negative survey responses to address those concerns and positive survey responses as talking points to lure new teachers. To further facilitate new hires, the survey website will eventually host a rural teacher job listing board.