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W.Va. schools report nearly 600 teacher vacancies statewide

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W.Va. schools report nearly 600 teacher vacancies statewide

 By Carrie Hodousek  | WV MetroNews

There are nearly 600 teacher vacancies statewide, according to a report finalized by the West Virginia Department of Education this month.

The report states 593.5 positions, including part-time jobs, included teachers, substitutes and those without full certifications to teach certain subjects.

The largest amount of vacancies are in special education at 231.3 positions — more than one third of the total vacancies.

“It’s a crisis,” said state School Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano, following the state Board of Education’s meeting in Charleston last week.

The board voted Thursday to repeal the much-talked-about Common Core/Next Generation teaching standards for English, language arts and mathematics and approved to replace it with the College and Career Readiness Standards scheduled to take effect July 1, 2016.

Martirano said now that they have new academic standards in place, he needs to fill the teacher positions, so they can deliver the standards to students statewide.

“We need to now shift the narrative in our state in what I define as the metrics that truly matter to improving academic achievement in our state,” he said. “When you have a state that has 600 vacancies right now, that is diminishing the quality of instruction for my young people.”

Better teacher recruiting and a better examination of teacher salaries needs to happen in order to resolve the issue, Martirano said.

“We need to break barriers in highly competitive world right now for teachers and the supply and demand is just not there,” he said. “There are a lower number of teachers available that we’re all competing for to fill our vacancies.”

More importantly, Martirano noted the ‘crisis’ isn’t fair to West Virginia students.

“If I have a high number of concentrated vacancies in particular counties and another county does not and they have a highly qualified teachers, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the children in one county are getting the better education than the other,” he said.

The number of teacher vacancies has increased over the last several years, according to the department. In 2013-2014, there was 287.5 vacancies then increased to 425.5 the following year. Another jump occurred this school year.

Vacancy positions in other subjects for this year include:

  • Math — 64.5
  • Administrative support services — 49
  • Foreign language — 30
  • Other — 26.5
  • Science — 26.5
  • Reading/reading specialist — 21.5
  • English — 21
  • Career and technical education — 19
  • The arts — 15.5