Arizona teacher shortage hits 6-year streak as ASU looks at how to retain educators

Arizona continues to have a teacher shortage and Arizona State University says its Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College is looking at ways to train and retain teachers using different methods.

A survey conducted at the end of 2021 by the Arizona School Personnel Administration Association, the state has seen a six-year streak of teacher shortages. That survey says about 26% of teacher vacancies remain unfilled, while over half are filled by teachers who do not meet the state's standard certification requirements.

"It's a crisis and I think it's a crisis we need to pay attention to. If we don't have qualified, quality professional teachers in our schools and in our learning environments, that's problematic for kids," says Carole Basile, the dean of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

"What we see nationally is fewer people coming into the profession, and we see more people leaving quickly. We have been very lucky in our enrollment. Our enrollment continues to go up," she explained.

Now, she says they're looking at new ways for teachers to teach.

"We're trying new structures, new ways of thinking about things, new kinds of systems to get teachers to work on teams, to distribute expertise and to work the way many of us do with other people not feeling like we have to know everything there is to know," Basile said.

Dean Basile says these models will help districts retain teachers and alleviate burnout.

Several Arizona school districts, including Mesa, the state's largest, have begun implementing these teaching models.

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