States scramble to hire educators across nation.

Alex Dickerman, News Editor

American schools face an ever-increasing teacher shortage, with many educators either leaving the profession or deciding not to join the field at all.

In numerous parts of the country schools have been forced to scramble with temporary solutions, such as decreasing the school week, increasing class sizes, and limiting the requirements for those who want to become teachers.

In addition to districts and families, the shortages make matters more difficult for teachers still in the industry, and they significantly affect students who are not being taught.

The severity of the teaching crisis varies locally in Pennsylvania.

For instance, the Upper Darby School District in Delaware County – where about 60 percent of students are from low-income families – still had 70 unfilled teaching positions at the beginning of the school year for its student population of over 12,000, according to an article on Although 40 positions were reportedly in the process of recommendation, the number is eye-opening, nonetheless.

“I tell my team, ‘Until they’re actually in the classroom, it’s not filled,’” Upper Darby Superintendent Dan McGarry said in the article. “We’ve had somebody say they’re gonna take it, and then literally the next day someone offers them $4,000 or $5,000 more and we can’t match it. We thought we had the job filled and it gets taken away from us.”

The same article cites Harrisburg middle school Rowland Academy, which has vacancies that led to an early dismissal of 80 minutes for students, the removal of lunch periods, and, for the fall semester of the 2022 school year, an end to after-school extracurriculars.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education acknowledged the statewide problem of recruiting and retaining teachers in its development of a strategic plan this past summer.

“Educators are the cornerstone of our communities and serve as the gateway to our collective future; without them, our workforce and economy cannot survive,” said acting PA Education Secretary Eric Hagarty in a press release. “Like other states across the nation, we have been grappling with an educator workforce shortage that would have severe and long-lasting implications for generations to come.”

According to PDE, thousands of new teachers will be needed by 2025.

At Spring-Ford teacher shortages aren’t as glaring a problem. There are, however, fewer applicants than in years past as well as an increased rate of turnover. To that end, more of a networking effort is underway in the district than in years past, according to Assistant Director of Human Resources Sydney Wiesner.

“We are finding it more and more important to build connections and relationships with colleges to grow our application pools,” Wiesner explained. “We are partnering in ways that we have not needed to before, including participating in mock interviews, visiting courses as a guest speaker, and participating in student teacher professional development days.”

While national teacher shortages limit the effectiveness of the American education system, what can be done about it?
Some believe teacher shortages lie in a lack of passion in potential educators, however, thousands across the country are certified to teach and many more believe education to be their ideal career.

The cost of higher education increased significantly in recent decades, while teachers’ salaries have not been adjusted and some salaries have even decreased despite the fact that salaries in many schools was already low to begin with.

Payscale, an American data company that is designed to help people understand their worth in the market of professions, reports that while most teachers believe that their job is crucial to the functioning of society, the median pay for their job is at about $44,000 nationwide. The average income in America is at about $53,000.

Besides the pay issue, the treatment of teachers is also a cause for why many are leaving the profession.

According to a CNBC article in 2021, PDK International, an association for teachers that has advocated for the advancement of support and pay in the field since 1906, surveyed 556 teachers across the nation, asking how they currently liked their job, with 50% of those numbers stating that they have considered resigning.

Shortages of teaching positions has not recovered since the beginning of the 2022 school year and is increasingly becoming an issue – not only in public schools but the entire community as well.

“Pennsylvania’s educator shortage is the biggest threat facing not only our educational system but our future prosperity as a commonwealth,” said Pennsylvania executive director of Teach Plus Laura Boyce. “If schools are engines of educational and economic opportunity, then educators are the conductors who keep the train moving forward.”