We’re racing against a ticking clock to resolve the teacher shortage for our students’ futures as the number of unfilled positions at schools and districts hits record levels.
Every unfilled staff vacancy at a school means that students are not receiving a high-quality education, which has a resounding effect on outcomes. One study shows that 10 additional teacher absences per year lead to 1.2 percent and .6 percent of a standard deviation decrease in math and English test scores, respectively. This principle applies to core subjects, which give students a solid foundation for academic and career success, and enrichment classes, which expand their skill sets and understanding of the world.
The teacher shortage is even more detrimental to students in underserved districts, where teacher absences tend to run higher than the national average of 11 days per year.
But there has been a solution in front of us the whole time: live-streaming teachers can serve in-person or virtual classrooms around the country at the click of a button, providing the quality education that all students deserve.
Desperate to solve the teacher shortage, schools are trying everything they can, including pleading for parents to volunteer in classrooms. Meanwhile, state governments are trying to help, sometimes by taking actions that have been frantic, extravagant, or misguided. Tennessee offered free apprenticeships to would-be teachers. New Mexico recruited National Guard members.
Perhaps most alarming is the trend of schools lowering certification requirements for people willing to teach. An AAEE survey found that 16 percent of the teachers hired in the past year did not have traditional preparation and were either emergency hires or had non-traditional preparation.