Teacher recruitment nationwide has become an obstacle for many public school districts.
In Colorado Springs, reasons given for difficulty with teacher recruitment and retention include a smaller selection of candidates, lack of funding, and stiff competition for attracting good teachers.
“It’s not just Colorado. Places are struggling with teacher recruitment nationwide,” said Paul McCarty, superintendent at Hanover School District 28.
East of Colorado Springs, spokesman for Falcon School District 49 Matt Meister says that the market is becoming more tight.”The overall candidate pool is contracting,” he said.
Meister says that it has been particularly challenging to find competent and qualified teachers for elementary school math, science, and special education.
“The pool of candidates for every position is typically smaller than it was 10 years ago,” said Walt Cooper, superintendent of Cheyenne Mountain School District 12. “It would not have been unusual for us to have up to 30 or 40 applicants per elementary classroom position. Now, we might have two-thirds of that.”
Cooper cites having particular difficulty finding high school science and math teachers. “If we’re trying to hire a speech language pathologist, they’re almost impossible to find,” he commented.
It isn’t that there are not enough teachers, but in order to hire the high quality teachers, schools have to compete in a tight market. McCarty says that there are many teachers available who were not renewed or who are in training, or who have been terminated by another district for various reasons. “So a lot of times you can fill a position, but it may not be the effective teacher you want,” he said.