House Committee on Education meets to discuss teacher shortage
Kentucky lawmakers are reconvening in the State Capital as they resume the 2023 Legislative Session.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky lawmakers are reconvening in the State Capital as they resume the 2023 Legislative Session.
Some of the biggest topics being addressed include the ongoing teacher shortage.
The House Standing Committee on Education met Tuesday to discuss ways to improve on that shortage.
Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner Jason Glass spoke to the committee, saying the issue is about the number of teachers that are leaving, but the number of applicants for teacher positions are staying the same.
Glass says teacher turnover rates have been growing on a yearly basis, and while the nationwide turnover rate last year was 15-16%, Kentucky was above that at more than 20%.
Glass says the high teacher turnover rate negatively affects education for students as often, teachers must fill spots they’re not certified in, which negatively impacts students’ understanding of math and English particularly.
He says this forces districts to be less choosy in hiring teachers, relying on emergency certifications to fill open positions.
Glass says the Kentucky Department of Education approved 383 emergency certifications in the 2017-2018 school year.
This past school year, the department approved more than one thousand certifications. He says the shortages span Kentucky’s 171 school districts.
He says the lack of teachers is due to three things: pay, support, and respect.
However, Republican Representative Russell Weber challenged that, saying teachers don’t feel supported by the department, expressing since virtual learning and the pandemic, it’s been more difficult to discipline students.
Commissioner Glass says it’s important to be clear-eyed about the magnitude of changes that need to be made, and there are no quick fixes to the issue.