A lack of job applicants is the top reason for the ongoing educator shortage, according to a survey released Monday by AASA, The School Superintendents Association.
Among the 910 responses from district leaders, AASA found 84.7% said the educator shortage is driven by districts not receiving enough applications. Additional leading factors cited include teacher turnover (56.5%), a desire for better pay (54.4%), staff leaving the profession or retiring (53.7%), the politicization of the teaching profession (46.7%) and educator burnout (45.2%).
“While the educator shortage is real, and problematic, the vacancy rates, in general, are not representative of a major exodus from the teaching and educator profession,” the report stated.
Overall, 27.7% of respondents reported higher vacancy rates for the 2022-23 school year compared to last year, AASA found.
The survey found a majority of respondents (78%) faced a 5% or less vacancy rate among their instructional staff this year. While 14% of those surveyed said they saw a vacancy rate between 6% to 10%, another 4.7% of respondents said they had a vacancy rate between 11% to 15%.
For non-instructional positions, vacancy rates were a bit higher, according to AASA.
Non-instructional vacancy rates of less than 5% were reported by half of the respondents. On top of that, 27.9% of respondents experienced vacancy rates between 6% to 10% in their districts and 10.6% of respondents saw vacancy rates of 11% to 15%. Still, 6.7% of respondents said they had a vacancy rate between 16% to 20%.
As debates continue regarding the scope of the issue nationwide, recent data from the Annenberg Institute at Brown University reveals the teacher shortage is still widespread and persistent in the United States, but areas such as the South are being hit harder. Preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also found there are 270,000 fewer local education employees since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
In late August, the White House assembled a public-private partnership to help recruit and retain teachers while top officials met to discuss raising teacher pay and creating apprenticeship programs as solutions moving forward.