Kentucky school superintendents look to general assembly to tackle teaching shortage

Kentucky school superintendents look to general assembly to tackle teaching shortage
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 5:38 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky’s school superintendents are all in the same boat.

Teaching vacancies are at an all-time high, while qualified applicants are at an all-time low. There are 11,000 vacancies across the state.

“Of the 20 vacancies we have right now, we don’t have any applicants,” Bullitt County Superintendent Dr. Jesse Bacon said. “That’s just not something we’ve seen.”

On Monday, The Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA) released its Coalition to Sustain the Education Profession progress report, listing six strategies and nine recommendations for legislators to follow.

Aside from financial incentives, it recommends a few other things to recruit teachers and retain them, like a state-wide application portal, centralized resource hubs and more alternative certifications.

Governor Andy Beshear joined KASA members, asking legislators to take into consideration the recommendations discussed.

“If we’re serious about learning loss, not just to use it as a political tool to attack each other, but to make up that learning loss,” he said. “I know this one simple fact, you can’t catch a kid up on math if you don’t have a math teacher. You can’t raise those reading scores if you don’t have that English teacher.”

Hardin County Superintendent Teresa Morgan said these things need to get done before the situation gets worse.

”If you would have told me 33 years ago that we would not have an applicant for a P.E. position, I would have told you, you were nuts,” Morgan said. “And yet we have no applicants for P.E. positions. You take that to our middle and high schools, math and science, we have zero applicants.”

If these recommendations aren’t taken up this year, the groundwork is there for next year, Morgan explained.

Here’s a full list of recommendations from KASA:

  • Direct the Office of Education Accountability to conduct or commission a comprehensive mixed methods study on the state of public education in Kentucky, including perceptions of and attitudes toward the teaching profession and a comprehensive wage and benefit analysis.
  • Approve a resolution asking appropriate agencies to study, revise and create an easily comprehensible and navigable system of alternative teacher certification.
  • Direct the Kentucky Department of Education to create a teacher recruitment web portal containing all resources from consideration of a teaching career to a statewide application system.
  • Approve a resolution that encourages the Education Professional Standards Board to address multiple certification issues including teacher testing, admission to teacher education programs, state-to-state reciprocity, and varying grade levels of certification.
  • Approve legislation clarifying acceptable personal and professional educator behaviors and provide clear and appropriate penalties for violations.
  • Direct and provide funding for a marketing campaign to highlight the importance of education and the education profession to the citizens of Kentucky.
  • Direct and provide funding for the development of a model teacher recruitment and induction program and mandate the establishment of a Tenure Review Committee for teachers inducted into the education profession under that program.
  • Direct and provide funding to expand the GoTeachKY and GoTeachKY Ambassador program in every Kentucky school district.
  • Create and provide funding for the creation of an annual renewable undergraduate teacher education scholarships for each Kentucky school district and for the creation of a $500 stipend for teacher education students who are engaged in student teaching.