School principals report a shortage of qualified teachers

A new survey of Washington state school principals reports that many of them are finding it difficult to hire qualified teachers. 

Principals cannot find qualified teachers for many Washington classrooms. In fact, ninety-three percent of principals describe their hiring situation as a struggle or a crisis. The teacher shortage has been an even greater burden for poor and urban schools… As a result of the shortage, eighty percent of principals have had to hire under-qualified teachers.

In our foundation report we wrote of the importance of having a qualified teacher in every classroom. 

…research and anecdotal evidence tell us that teacher quality is the critical classroom factor impacting student achievement. As a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation study recently found, “Effective teaching can be measured.” And, as the Rand Corporation42 and Partnership for Learning have noted, teachers matter more to student achievement than any other factor.

Washington must take steps to ensure that the very best teachers are in every classroom, every day. The state can meet that challenge by continuing to assess teacher performance, providing opportunities for current teachers to enhance their skills, making assessment of student outcomes a factor in personnel evaluation, and ensuring principals have authority to hire the best teachers. 

More on the survey conducted for the Association of Washington School Principals and OSPI in the Tri-City Herald and Crosscut.