Teacher Shortages Continue in Schools Throughout State - Southern Maryland Headline News

Teacher Shortages Continue in Schools Throughout State

Maryland State Board Of Education Again Finds Problem Areas In Every County

BALTIMORE - The Maryland State Board of Education this week declared teacher shortages in 18 key subject areas, ranging from special education to secondary school math and science.

Only two subject areas - early childhood education and theater teachers - were removed from the list. Remaining on the list were content areas that have historically suffered from shortages, such as chemistry, physics, and English for speakers of other languages.

The State Board found teacher shortages cropping up in all 24 school systems, and noted a lack of teachers who are male and teachers who are members of minority groups.

When classes began in Maryland school systems earlier this fall, several hundred positions remained open - most in the hard-to-fill areas cited in the report.

"Schools are becoming more adept and creative at recruiting highly qualified new teachers," noted Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools. "But our research shows that there is no end in sight for shortages in several of our most important subjects."

There are needs that go well beyond the classroom. The State Board also declared a desire for more principals, reading specialists, and speech/language pathologists for schools in the state.

Maryland's annual teacher staffing report, presented to the State Board today, found that 8,046 new teachers were hired last year, a big jump from the previous year's 6,617. Of the teachers hired last year, 4,350 were new teachers who had recently completed teacher training programs.

The percentage of minority new hires increased from 27.9 percent in 2004-2005 to 30.5 percent last year. At the same time, the percentage of teacher candidates at Maryland colleges and universities who are members of minority groups increased slightly, from 18.4 percent in 2004-2005 to 18.8 percent in 2005-2006.

Although there remains a need for more teachers, there are some positive trends. For example, it was anticipated that 2,770 students would graduate from Maryland teacher education programs in 2005-2006, continuing an upward trend. The report found that nearly 3,000 (2,937) were on track to graduate in 2006-2007.

Still, there is no sign that shortages will end anytime soon. Although Maryland school systems will not need to hire a record number of teachers next fall, they will still need to recruit nearly 7,000 (6,869), leaving nearly a 4,000 teacher shortfall from the number of new teachers produced by colleges and universities in the state.

The Maryland Teacher Staffing Report, which MSDE began publishing 22 years ago as the Maryland Teacher Supply and Demand Study, uses information from local school systems and Maryland higher education institutions with teacher training programs.

The information is based on the most current available data (fall 2005), and the projected needs of school systems for 2006-2008.

The state Board's action serves as the basis for the Sharon Christa McAuliffe Awards given by the Maryland State Scholarship Administration and for the federal government to identify students eligible for deferment or cancellation of student loans.

Source: Maryland State Department of Education

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