For the seventh consecutive year, Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA) survey results confirm the continued teacher shortage in Arizona. The data indicates about 26.6% of teacher vacancies across the state this year remain unfilled while 41.7% of the vacancies are filled by teachers who do not meet the state’s standard certification requirements.
Since 2016, approximately a quarter of teacher vacancies remained unfilled a month into each school year. Meanwhile, there has been a continued increase in teacher vacancies being filled by individuals through various alternative pathways as they did not meet the standard teacher requirements. While providing career change opportunities has plenty of advantages, Arizona continues to not address the reasons our young adults are not entering the education field.
These results reinforce the need to increase funding for public education. Arizona teacher pay remains one of the lowest in the country, even with the recent education budget increase.
Arizona children deserve the best teachers and a stable workforce. School districts and charter schools compete nationally for the limited pool of candidates. The inability to offer competitive salaries severely limits public schools from attracting the best and the brightest to Arizona.
The severity of the teacher shortage must be addressed. Arizona’s leaders must make a collective effort to ensure the recruitment and retention of effective teachers through increased funding. A highly educated and skilled workforce are cornerstones of a growing and thriving economy.
The survey focused on teacher vacancies and teachers who have already severed employment as of September 2022, and 130 school districts and charter schools throughout Arizona participated.