Our school system is going through it’s annual dance to hire enough new teachers for the fall (we’ll need around 1600 at last report) and I expect many other districts are doing the same thing. We’ve heard reports about teacher shortages for almost as long as I’ve been in the business (starting somewhere before Gordon Gecko :-) but there are a couple of factors that will only make it worse in the near term.
First, No Child Left Behind requires that every teacher be certified in their subject area (no argument). Schools in New York State were supposed to reach that goal next fall but New York City won’t make it and wants an extension (free NY Times registration). In some areas, more teachers are needed because of requirements to lower class sizes. Either way, it means both finding more teachers, and persuading the good ones to stay, especially in the traditional shortage fields of math, science, and special ed.
Of course, it could be worse. The shortage could be caused by teachers being murdered as they are in Columbia.