Study: AZ teacher shortage remains at crisis levels - AZEdNews
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Study: AZ teacher shortage remains at crisis levels

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  • Justin Wing/Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association

Physics Teacher

For the third consecutive year, the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA) survey results confirm the continued teacher shortage in Arizona.

The purpose of sharing these results is to bring awareness that the Arizona legislature has not adequately addressed the main root causes of the teacher shortage. Arizona key leaders need to make a collective effort to ensure the recruitment and retention of effective teachers in Arizona as we are competing with 49 other states for educators.

High quality public schools are desirable to companies considering a move to the “Copper State”, and a highly educated and skilled work force are cornerstones to a growing and thriving economy.

ASPAA shares this data with you as a reminder that the severity of the teacher shortage must be addressed. Please be aware that ASPAA recently completed a survey in which 135 school districts and charter schools throughout Arizona participated. The survey was focused on teacher vacancies and teachers who have already severed employment on or before the week of August 28th. Details are listed below.

“It is time for the Arizona legislature and Governor Ducey to adequately fund Arizona’s public schools. Patchwork approaches continue to hold our schools at the bottom of per pupil funding in the United States and force our schools to depend on federal funds, overrides, and bonds to supplement state funding,” said Jason D. Hammond Garcia, president of Arizona School Administrators Association. “We encourage Arizona voters to support their local school overrides and bonds to keep our students learning, but also implore them to hold elected officials accountable to improve per pupil funding. Only by demanding positive change in school funding and not being satisfied until this is accomplished, will matters improve for the children of Arizona.”

Listed below are some current figures. We are available to the media for further comment or questions.

Jason D. Hammond Garcia, President of the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association, Phoenix, Arizona; 602-579-2148;
Justin Wing, Past President, Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association, Phoenix, Arizona; (602) 388-2200;


18.4% Of teacher positions remain vacant four weeks into the school year. (n=1328)
+ 34.4% Of teacher positions filled by individuals not meeting standard teacher requirements (using alternative methods)(n=2491)
         = 52.8% Of teacher positions either remain vacant or were filled by individuals not meeting standard teacher requirements (using alternative methods).

·       1,328 teacher positions remain vacant

·       2,491 teacher positions filled using alternative methods.

147 Teachers abandoned their teacher position by failing to show to work or by abruptly leaving their job within the first four weeks of the school year.
+ 379 Additional teachers resigned from their teacher position within the first four weeks of the school year.
= 526 Teachers who either abandoned or resigned from their teacher position within first four weeks of the school year. 
 Category Item Count
Survey Responses Arizona school districts and charter schools participating in the survey. 135
Total Teacher Openings Teacher openings needed to be filled for the 2016-2017 school year (in FTE). 7,234.6

Current Teacher Vacancies


Vacancies filled by long-term substitutes. 625.4
Vacancies filled by contracted agency (e.g. special education positions). 231.5
Vacancies filled by administration or certified specialists (e.g. instructional coaches). 23.5
Vacancies collapsed in which an existing teacher(s) now has a class size that exceeds the school’s class size limits. 47
Vacancies collapsed in which the school created multi-grade classrooms. 33
Vacancies filled by having teachers work on 6/5ths contract (no planning time for these teachers). 367.6
Total Vacancies (As of August 28, 2017) 1,328.00

Individuals not meeting standard teacher requirements

(alternative methods)

How many student teachers are a paid “teacher of record” because either they have the NEW Student Teacher certificate or the college/university agreed for your school district/charter to hire and pay the student teacher to take over a classroom before he or she had graduated? 45
Vacancies filled by individuals who are pending certification.  These individuals are intended to teach in the same classroom for the entire year, but are not yet appropriately certified. 944.732
Vacancies filled by individuals who received an emergency teacher certificate.


Vacancies fill by individuals who received a teacher intern certificate by participating in the teacher intern program (alternative pathway certificates).


How many NEW Subject Matter Expertise certificates did your school district/charter issue to fill vacant teacher positions? (one of a few alternative pathway certificate options) 39
Vacancies fill by individuals hired from outside of the United States by means of the H1B1 or another visa. 157
Total Not Meeting Standard Requirements (As of August 28) 2,491.43

Severing of Employment

Teachers who did not report to work. 57
Teachers who abandoned their job. 90
Teachers resigned, regardless of reason, in which the school approved their “release   of contract”. 379
Total Teachers that Severed Employment (As of August 28) 529


Arizona is competing with 49 other states and other nations for the pool of candidates. Nevada, for example, made addressing salary a priority to recruit teachers. Nevada is advertising in Arizona to lure teachers as Nevada has a higher salary. This is an issue of supply and demand. Our children deserve, not only a teacher, but the best teachers in the nation.
For more information on ASPAA, go to