Thursday, July 14, 2016

Report: Kansas lost 30% of education students from 2011-14, leading to rural teacher shortages

Kansas is struggling to fill rural teaching positions, as more candidates choose jobs in the suburbs and fewer college students major in education, says a report by a task force of academics and educators, Celia Llopis-Jepsen reports for The Topeka Capital-Journal. Urban areas are also struggling to fill positions, leaving Kansas with 277 unfilled teaching positions during the spring semester. Of those unfilled positions, 40 percent were in the mostly rural southwestern part of the state.

In 2014, the most recent year data was available, 5,380 students were studying education at Kansas higher-education institutions, down from 7,750 in 2011, Llopis-Jepsen writes. The main reasons students cited for not studying education were "low teacher pay, low esteem for the profession, actions by the Legislature affecting the profession and retirement benefits, and unstable school funding."

The report estimates that the No. 1 reason teachers leave jobs in Kansas is retirement, Llopis-Jepsen writes. The report found that the "perception that the teaching profession is 'aging' is incorrect. More than one-fifth of Kansas teachers have fewer than five years of experience. Forty percent have fewer than 10 years." (Read more)

No comments: