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Missouri General Assembly focuses on teacher shortages


As the Missouri General Assembly Joint Committee on Education considered teacher tenure and human resources in a hearing Tuesday, a report by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shows a teacher shortage in specific areas for the 2013-2014 school year.

A total of 11 areas had teacher shortages in Missouri:

  • Blind/partially sighted aides
  • Deaf/hearing impaired aides
  • English as a second language
  • Gifted programs
  • Severely developmentally delayed students
  • School psychologists
  • School psychological examiners
  • Speech specialists
  • Physics
  • Foreign Languages
  • Computers/Information Technology

The Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) spoke to the joint committee in July on teacher preparedness.  In July, part of the testimony focused on filling positions in specific areas with new teachers.
According to the Department of Education, Missouri’s teachers are certified in four subjects per every job opening.  However, teachers don’t have the right certification for open jobs.

One of the concerns the committee continued to discuss this month is the issue of teacher retirement and tenure.  According to MACTE President Tim Wall, teacher retirements and teachers who leave put a strain on underserved subjects and schools, forcing them to spread fewer teachers among students. 

“We work with the office of education preparation to get more teachers in those areas,” said Paul Katnik, Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Educator Quality. 

MACTE is working on predictive analysis to help see teacher shortages years in advance, allowing them to direct more prospective teachers to get certification in the fields where shortages occur.  This idea met the approval of the committee.  “We want to strike the right balance between what will give us the highest quality, effective educator, and what the needs are,” said Rep. Steve Cookson (R-Doniphan).