Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education sees increase in enrollment in teacher preparedness programs

Missouri is struggling with a teacher shortage
Missouri is struggling with a teacher shortage(KY3)
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 4:31 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -The state of Missouri is struggling with a teacher shortage. Currently, colleges and universities are not graduating enough teachers to fill all the open positions.

Colleges have seen an increase in enrollment in education programs since 2017 however, the number of students who complete the program has remained steady. Last year more than 11,000 students enrolled in an education program up from 10,00 in 2019.

In the last three years, the number of students completing the degree hovers around 3,600. Union leaders say there could be many reasons for this trend.

“I would speculate that people will get into the point in the program where they are either going into a classroom or shadowing an educator and they’re seeing just how tough the job is,” said Missouri National Educators Association Communications Director Mark Jones. “Looking at all the expectations that are often placed upon educators that are above and beyond will be placed on anyone else in any other working circumstance and simply find out it’s not for them. And that’s okay. You know, but I think what if we want to encourage people to become educators, we have to start treating the profession with respect.”

Another interesting finding is the number of teacher certificates issued annually. Overall there is a decrease in the number of initial certificates issued to students graduating with education degrees.

Still, there is a slight increase in the number of provisional certificates issued. Provisional certificates are issued to students within 12 credit hours of completing their degree and allow them to accept a full-time teaching position before they graduate.

To combat the teacher shortage, school districts must hire candidates who may not be fully certified to lead a classroom. Some of the areas that have the highest number of uncertified educators are Elementary education, grades 1-6

  • Mild/moderate cross-categorical special education, K-12
  • Early childhood special education
  • Early childhood education
  • Social sciences, grades 5-9
  • Physics, grades 9-12
  • Mathematics, grades 5-9
  • Severely developmentally disabled, K-12
  • Biology, grades 9-12
  • General science, grades 5-9

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