Is the ‘Teacher Shortage’ Over?

By Anthony Rebora — August 01, 2003 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

News sites this summer have been reporting a trend that would have seemed far- fetched only a year ago: Schools are having marked success in filling teaching positions. Teacher shortages may not be over (as one article suggests), but it’s clear the landscape of teacher recruitment is changing significantly. Here’s a review of a few recent news stories:

  1. A mid-August Associated Press story picked up by a number of papers reported that the demand for teachers “has eased significantly as the economy has cooled. ...” In addition to the tightened economy, the report points to incentive programs enacted by many districts as having bolstered the teaching ranks. The story notes, however, that teachers in some subjects—math, bilingual education, special education, and science—remain stubbornly difficult to find. It also raises the question of whether the new teachers being hired will be able to meet the requirements for highly qualified teachers mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act.
  2. Pinellas County (Fla.) has hired some 400 teachers this summer, according to a report in the St. Petersburg Times. As of late July, only 30 jobs remained open--about one third the number that were open before school started last year. Among the factors cited as contributing to the district’s improvement are a “streamlined online application process” and improved “on-the-road recruitment methods.” The article notes, for example, that principals now accompany recruiters on trips to college campuses.
  3. Perhaps most surprisingly, Philadelphia school officials are optimistic the district will open schools “with no teacher vacancies for the first time in many years,” according to a July 30 story in the Philadelphia Daily News. The story says the district has been flooded with over 3,800 applications from teachers over the past year. Sources cited credit the surge to reforms introduced by the schools chief Paul Vallas. Those include a structured mentoring program, a standardized curriculum, and a strong emphasis on recruiting. One official quoted stressed that standards for new teachers have also been raised.
  4. The New Orleans school district has drawn in over 300 teachers this year from a mix of recruitment programs, says a story in The Times-Picayune. About 150 of the new teachers were recruited through the Orleans Parish Teaching Fellows, a project set up to attract fully certified teachers to the district. The rest derive from fast-track alternative programs at local universities and the Teach for America. District officials hope the “infusion of teachers” will help reduce the number of uncertified and substitute teachers the district has had to rely on in the past.


Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Personalized Learning Webinar
No Time to Waste: Individualized Instruction Will Drive Change
Targeted support and intervention can boost student achievement. Join us to explore tutoring’s role in accelerating the turnaround. 
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Social-Emotional Learning: Making It Meaningful
Join us for this event with educators and experts on the damage the pandemic did to academic and social and emotional well-being.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 23, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: November 2, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: October 19, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: October 12, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read