COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The first day of school is just three weeks away and school districts nationwide are still working to combat a teacher shortage.
Here in central Ohio, the school districts we spoke to say they are nearly 100% staffed. Columbus City School leaders say they are feeling confident, having 97% of their certified teaching positions filled.
“As our community and our nation struggles with an educator shortage we are working hard to address remaining vacancies but investing in our teachers and our certificated staff,” said Dr. Talisa Dixon, Columbus City Schools Superintendent.
Teachers are blaming the national teacher shortage on a few things: pandemic exhaustion and lack of support from the districts. Columbus teachers say this problem will only get worse if these things aren’t acknowledged.
“I think that’s where the real message is value and you know how we are actually retaining and keeping teachers in the classroom,” said Regina Fuentez, a high school teacher and Columbus Educators Association spokesperson.
Fuentes believes if the school district doesn’t make this job more marketable current teachers will want to jump ship and aspiring teachers will not want to come on board.
“In the long run it has to be attractive to them, they have options rightfully so, and I feel like that we really have to make this more appealing to young people coming in and wanting to do this profession,” Fuentes said.
She said this goes for substitutes as well. Right now CCS has 250 building substitutes for the 2022 school year. This only equals out to around two per school. Fuentes said teachers understand the last few years have been exhausting for everyone, but she doesn’t want this problem to impact the students’ learning.
“They like to know that their teacher cares about them and if you see that you know there is this revolving door of teachers that it’s happening you certainly feel like people don’t care about you and people don’t care about your situation,” Fuentez said. “And I do not want our kids getting that message.”
NBC4 reached out to several other school districts around Central Ohio and the only one we heard back from was Hilliard. Their communications representative tells me they are only looking to fill two teacher positions and three tutor positions.