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Nearly one quarter of teacher vacancies in Arizona remain unfilled

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — Nearly one quarter of teacher vacancies in Arizona remain unfilled, according to a recent survey.

The Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association conducted the survey last month and said 211 school districts and charter schools participated.

“The major finding is that we’re continuing to see a teacher shortage throughout the state, and it is continuing to be a problem for us as we try to fill positions within our schools and school districts,” Laura Elizondo, the association’s president, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

“About 22 percent of positions still remain vacant, so that’s about 1,600, close to 1,700, positions that still remain vacant at this time of the year.”

The survey also found that more than half of the filled positions were taken by educators who do not meet the state’s standard teacher certification requirements.

Alternative methods of certification that those filling vacancies may have include emergency teaching, student intern, subject matter expert or long-term substitute certificates, Elizondo said.

“It’s concerning to fill positions with staff members that are not appropriately certified … because they don’t come with that background knowledge of the ins and outs of that career path, so they require additional support,” Elizondo said.

The survey found that more than 900 teachers abandoned or resigned from their positions within the first half of the school year.

“The numbers ultimately continue to show that we are in a crisis for teachers,” she said.

“It’s all showing that we need more teachers in the classroom that have the training, that have the certification, that understand what the career requires of them, and we’re just not there yet.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report. 

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