Teacher Shortages Continue Throughout Maryland

State Board Spotlights Shortages That Exist in Every County

BALTIMORE (Nov. 11, 2008) - The Maryland State Board of Education recently declared teacher shortages in 20 key subject areas, ranging from special education to secondary school math and science.

Only two subject areas - dance and health occupations - were removed from the list, last published in 2006. A number of language subjects were added: Chinese, German, Italian, and Japanese. 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, teacher shortages were less pronounced than they had been in previous years. The positions that remained open were primarily in the hard-to-fill areas cited in the report.

"Special education, upper level math, physics-these positions have been difficult to fill since we began tracking this nearly 25 years ago," noted Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools. "But our school systems are doing a much better job of recruiting qualified teachers, and such innovations as our first statewide teacher job fair held last year have paid big dividends."

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

Maryland's biennial Teacher Staffing Report, presented to the State Board this week, found that 7,249 new teachers were hired last year, down slightly from two years earlier.

Of the teachers hired in 2007, 4,003 were new teachers who had recently completed teacher training programs. Only 1,234 of them came from Maryland colleges and universities, down from a high of 1,769 in 2002-2003.

The percentage of minority new hires fell slightly from 30.5 percent in 2006 to 29.3 percent last year. At the same time, the percentage of teacher candidates at Maryland colleges and universities who are members of minority groups has been increasing steadily since 2002-2003, and now stands at 19.5 percent.

There is no sign that shortages will end anytime soon. There are currently only three teacher education candidates in physics scheduled to graduate from Maryland colleges next spring, down from 14 in 2006-2007. There are no candidates in computer science education or technology education.

The Maryland Teacher Staffing Report, which MSDE began publishing 24 years ago as the Maryland Teacher Supply and Demand Study, uses information from local school systems and Maryland higher education institutions with teacher preparation programs.

The information is based on the most current available data (fall 2007), and the projected needs of school systems for 2006-2008.

Source: Maryland State Board of Education

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