Is there really a teacher shortage in Mississippi? That depends.
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis – Oct 31, 2015) Administrators are playing fast and loose with the definition of “shortage.”
The Mississippi Department of Education made headlines recently based on the data presented to the MDE Board on four slides that showed the state had 3,036 certified teacher vacancies and 5,503 educator workforce vacancies.
The mainstream media took the report as gospel without any questioning of where those numbers originated, the actual report referenced in the slides, and whether a teacher shortage actually even exists given the precipitous drop in the total K-12 public school student population in Mississippi in recent years.
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Shortage Area Report , Mississippi has shortages in all grades, P-12, in mathematics, science, special education, and world languages for the 2021-22 school year, based on unfilled job postings . But unfilled job postings are a less than desirable baseline from which to actually assess teacher shortages.
Definitionally, a teacher shortage could be talked about in two different ways. First, an episodic shortage would be the shortage of specific expertise in a specific place, such as not having a qualified French teacher in Mound Bayou, which causes services at a local level […]