World Teachers' Day highlights global educator shortage – a problem MN faces


There is a shortage of educated teachers in Minnesota.

During the 2013-14 school year, school districts in the state had to hire 3,504 teachers who lacked the necessary licenses for the subjects and grade levels being taught, the state Department of Education's 2015 report of teacher supply and demand found.

That equates to 6 percent of the entire teaching workforce in Minnesota public schools.

On Monday, people all around the world are celebrating educators in honor of World Teachers' Day – an annual effort to highlight the importance of teachers around the globe.

The annual "holiday" not only aims to show how important teachers are, but it also hopes to bring awareness to communities who still need teachers. According to UNESCO, countries will need to recruit 10.9 million teachers to achieve a goal of universal primary education by 2020.

Here's a look at the issues teachers face here in Minnesota.

Minnesotans' view of teachers

In the supply and demand report, Minnesota school districts said barriers in their ability to hire qualified teachers included:

  • Lack of pay
  • Lack of respect given to the teaching profession
  • Where they're located
  • School size

But Minnesotans say they have a high amount of admiration for educators.

A 2014 Gallup report – the State of America's Schools – found 83 percent of Minnesotans say teachers are admired or esteemed in their community.

The states where residents found teachers were respected also ranked highly when residents were asked whether they believe the quality of public education is excellent or good. In Minnesota, 81 percent of respondents felt that way. Most of the states that came out toward the top are located in the Midwest.

Minnesota also ranked highly on WalletHub's recent survey, which looked at the best states for teachers. Minnesota came in at No. 3 on the survey, which looked at 13 metrics, including average starting salary, unemployment rate and the projected number of teachers per student by 2022.

These factors help determine how long a teacher will stay in the job. The National Center for Education Statistics found about one-fifth of newly licensed public school teachers leave their positions before the end of their first year, while nearly half of teachers never last more than five years.

In Minnesota, 10.2 percent of teachers leave their positions every year, with the top two reasons being retiring and personal reasons, the Department of Education's report says.

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