Nearly 9 in 10 public school districts struggled to hire teachers heading into the school year, and many potential hires were deterred by low salaries.
The detail is one of many that emerged Tuesday from the National Center for Education Statistics’ monthly survey of public schools. The federal agency, a data-collecting arm of the Education Department, surveyed more than 1,300 K-12 schools in mid-August, providing a glimpse into how the 2023-24 school year is shaping up.
The shortages were most common in subjects that generally have been difficult to fill for years: special education, science and foreign languages.
While the survey, which only captures sentiment at a sliver of the nation’s public schools, shows that overall sentiments about staffing have improved somewhat since last year, high-poverty districts continue to report understaffing. For the current school year, 45% of all public schools reported feeling understaffed. That’s down from 53% in the last school year’s survey.