CLEVELAND — National headlines highlight a teacher shortage across the country. However educators in Northeast Ohio told News 5 that while it has become more difficult to hire teachers, the situation does not appear as dire as in other parts of the country.
News 5 recently spoke with Randi Weingarten, who serves as President of the American Federation of Teachers. The organization recently released a report highlighting how it feels a perceived shortage could be addressed, including increasing pay, lowering class sizes and steering away from standardized testing.
“It's not a teacher shortage per se,” Weingarten said. “It's a shortage of respect. It's a shortage of good conditions. It's a shortage of pay. Because if we could fix these things, it would fix the teacher shortage.”
A closer look at the Ohio Education Job Board shows just how many openings there still are being actively posted.
News 5 polled a handful of districts about the shortage and most said they were completely staffed or close to it, but all agreed that hiring became a lot more difficult in recent years.
At Akron Public Schools, the district added 22 positions, and are still looking to fill a total of 69 teacher vacancies, out of 1,700 total teachers in the district.
At Cleveland Metropolitan School District, CEO Eric Gordon tweeted the district welcomed 182 new teachers, putting them at 95% staffed for the year ahead.
Amidst a national teacher shortage, @CLEMetroSchools is excited to welcome 182 new teachers for the 2022-23 school year. We're 95% staffed for the year ahead and still hiring. Welcome new teachers! School starts August 22nd for students! #CelebrateCMSD #GetMore pic.twitter.com/hJ3MA1yiW0— Eric S. Gordon, CEO (@EricGordon_CEO) August 8, 2022
Lori Ward, Chief Talent and Equity Officer at CMSD, said that missing 5% still amounts to about 150 openings, down from 254 available teacher positions in June.
“I think we are in good shape,” she said. “Let me just be clear: the goal is still to be 100% and the clock is ticking so we're very busy.”
Going forward, Ward told News 5 with the help of a recent nearly $2 million grant from the Mid-American Conference, CMSD will continue to be able to focus on developing and retaining new teachers through a mentor program.
“We started this journey five years ago to really look at how do we provide the support necessary to encourage first year teachers, second year teachers to remain in the profession,” Ward explained.
In 2017, CMSD reported that the MAC donated $1 million and data shows retention rates increased for teachers.