Minnesota teacher shortage worsens

KEYC News Now at 6 Recording
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 8:53 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Over the last two years, the ongoing struggle to recruit and retain teachers has worsened throughout Minnesota.

A recent state report shows that the teacher-shortage has reached about every school district across the state.

“We’ve been talking about the teacher shortage for decades really, and you know, COVID has definitely exacerbated the problem,” said Denise Specht, Education Minnesota President.

Minnesota school districts aim to close the gap for the worsening teacher and substitute shortage. According to Minnesota’s latest Teacher Supply and Demand Report, 9 out of 10 school districts reported a being “somewhat significantly” to “very significantly” affected by the teacher shortage by 84% and substitute shortage by 89%.

These figures have increased since the 2021 report.

“The pay and compensation and benefits are just not keeping up with inflation,” said Specht.

Specht says that because of the shortage, classroom sizes are outweighing staff which is forcing teachers to invest their energy in extra work with fewer benefits, and feeling the burnout that follows.

“You think about going to work each and every day knowing that you’re not going to be able to meet the needs of all of your students. There’s a moral injury there that’s very difficult,” explained Specht.

“When there is, maybe, a sub that doesn’t show or doesn’t get filled, certainly that creates greater stress on individuals,” said Dan Kamphof, principal at Rosa Parks Elementary.

Yet, in Mankato, the public school district says it’s in better shape now compared to the last few years. MAPS says some schools are having little difficulty filling teaching positions, in part due to healthier staff and a pay incentive for substitutes.

“Speaking here at Rosa Parks, all of ours the spots are filled. There is a shortage but I think we’ve gotten more subs in our district this year than we have in the past,” said Kamphof.

Over the past year, MAPS says its substitute pay raise has helped close the gap of substitute shortages. Now, Mankato subs can receive $200 each day they work- a $50 increase from the year before, all in order to provide licensed teachers the time they need off.

“One of the things that’s most important to us is wellness of our people that we work with. The better you’re feeling about yourself and your life, the better you’re going to show up and work with kids every day,” explained Kamphoff.

If you’d like to view the statistics report, you can view it here.