There is an extreme teacher shortage throughout the United States, creating a crisis. School districts everywhere are scrambling to fill crucial teaching positions, only to find an extreme shortfall of certified educators. The Nevada Department of Education website shows a public list of educational positions facing shortages which cover every grade and all subject matters. This difficulty encompasses some of the most vital positions in the state, including special education instructors, school counselors, language teachers and school health-related positions that are mandatory within public schools.
The three-page letter dated April 10, 2017, from Gail McLarnon, Senior Director of Policy Development from the U.S. Department of Education, is addressed to Steve Canavero, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Nevada Department of Education, giving written confirmation of the Nevada report of school employee shortage. It also acknowledges some federal funding attached to portions of financial aid, with offers such as student loan forgiveness being part of a possible solution. Unfortunately, the narrow specifics lined out may not provide an immediate ease toward the quality staffing lacking within our own rural employee pool.
As the upper-grade, Mineral County students became aware of this urgent necessity to hire certified teachers, substitute teachers and volunteers, it came to the Junior High School Dream Team that a job fair could be an effective promotion in reaching the current needs within the Mineral County School District. With sponsorship coming directly from the students, the staff and the parents who are part of the Dream Team, it may get the attention of potential hires locally and beyond.
In a collaborative effort, the Mineral County Economic Development Authority will be utilizing their Hawthorne Convention Center offices, this Friday, Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for this special event. Local students hope to bring in qualified candidates from surrounding towns which can fill the gap with new applicants for the Mineral County District. Applications, fingerprinting cards and a variety of information will be available to assist interested candidates.
Numbers from the U.S. Department of Education, Learning Policy Institute and The National Center of Educational Statistics all combine to show the same situation. Teacher shortages are at a peak everywhere, with a breaking point arriving as numbers revealed the need for 300,000 additional teachers nationwide, for the 2017-18 public school year. These ratios apply to the Mineral County system, as a crisis for certified substitutes and proper volunteers are immediately necessary to meet the student demand within the current classroom sizes.
Creative funding and professional recruiters are being reviewed by many districts in the State of Nevada, some offering mileage allowance if commuting over 40 miles. Retention funds and specialized training enhancements, plus sign-on bonuses and student loan adjustment is also part of the newer employment packages within the state.
Public schools know that maintaining and growing a sustainable workforce is a primary concern. Nevada’s Clark County has sponsored over 80 new teachers to transfer from the Philippines, creating a higher wage for these out-of-country workers, while assisting with the lack of teachers they were experiencing within their county schools.
Hardest hit areas have been the rural districts, due to a limited funding base and smaller townships may not provide the living environment new teachers are looking for. Housing, local conveniences, and entertainment may be social concerns when applying, so the hiring pool dwindles down further for rural communities.
For further information regarding the current teacher shortage issues, visit the Nevada Ready website at www.doe.nv.gov/Topic/Teacher. To visit the job fair, feel free to contact the Mineral County Economic Development Authority at 775-945-5896. An additional job fair will be held Jan. 8, with the same emphasis in recruiting teaching staff.