FACT CHECK: How many teacher vacancies does Kentucky have?
As he’s toured the commonwealth to promote his education agenda, Gov. Andy Beshear has shared a startling statistic.
This school year alone, Beshear has said, Kentucky is down 11,000 teachers — which would be roughly a quarter of the state’s public school educators.
Kentucky schools are facing a crisis-level teacher shortage. But it is not as drastic as Beshear asserts, The Courier Journal found.
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Beshear’s 11,000 figure comes from the Kentucky Educator Placement Service, a state-run job portal site for school districts. State law requires districts to tell the Kentucky Department of Education if they have vacancies, and those jobs are posted in the portal.
Districts posted 10,816 jobs on the platform during the 2021-22 school year, Beshear's team said when asked for the source of his information.
Education department spokeswoman Toni Konz Tatman said 10,888 job postings went up from April 2022 to mid-January. Both figures extend past classroom teachers, who have been the central concern of teacher shortage conversations, to include other certified roles like athletic directors and central office administrators.
Just because a job was posted during either time frame does not mean it is still vacant, however.
Districts tend to do the bulk of their hiring over the summer, so roles posted in the spring and summer are likely filled before the school year gets underway.
As of Wednesday, the Kentucky Educator Placement Service has nearly 2,300 postings for certified classroom teachers. Only 1,744 of those were posted during April 2022 to mid-January 2023. (Some postings are up to eight years old.)
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Addressing the teacher shortage is expected to be a priority when Kentucky lawmakers start the second part of the 2023 legislative session next week.
The House Education Committee is expected to focus its first meeting, set for 10 a.m. Feb. 7, on the teacher shortage and potential solutions.
Reach Olivia Krauth at email@example.com and on Twitter at @oliviakrauth.
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This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky teacher shortage: How many vacancies does the state have?