It is good that the Kansas State Department of Education is conducting an in-depth study on teacher vacancies. There were 317 vacant teaching positions in Kansas at the beginning of September, but there needs to be more examination of the causes of the vacancies. Some of the shortage may be geographic (difficulty recruiting teachers to certain rural districts) or subject-specific (math). Teachers also may be leaving the profession or state because of low pay or the Legislature’s hostility. The Education Department released a list of the five hardest-to-fill teaching positions in Kansas. As usual, it included high school and middle school math and science teachers. But it also included elementary classroom teachers and middle school English language arts teachers, positions that didn’t used to be difficult to fill. – Phillip Brownlee
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