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Report: Teacher shortage impacting 9 of 10 Minnesota districts

The report from Minnesota’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board says many districts report being somewhat or very significantly impacted.

MINNEAPOLIS — A new state report suggests that nearly every public school district across Minnesota is being hamstrung by the growing shortage of both full-time and substitute teachers.    

The report, compiled by Minnesota’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board, found nearly 9 of 10 districts (84%) report being "somewhat significantly" or "very significantly" impacted by the teacher shortage. That number is up from 70% in 2021.

Among the other findings: 

  • Nearly one in four Minnesotans holding a teaching license is not teaching in a public school or charter school.
  • Nearly a third of new teachers leave teaching within the first five years, consistent with recent reports. This stat does not include more experienced teachers who resign before retirement age.
  • Of all teaching assignments in Minnesota, 8% are filled by teachers who do not hold the appropriate professional license for that assignment. This includes teachers holding licenses with minimal or no requirements for formal training, those with variances to teach outside their field, and teachers in special programs. This is a particularly big issue in special education.
  • The racial and ethnic diversity of Minnesota’s teachers does not reflect the state's students, something that is not new. Statewide, 6.24% of Minnesota teachers are teachers of color or Indigenous, while 40% of students are. 
  • The divide in the seven-county metropolitan area is even more jarring: Just 9.68% of teachers are people of color or Indigenous, while the student population was reported as 50.15% students of color or Indigenous.

“Every student needs some personal attention from their teachers, but it’s getting harder and harder for overworked teachers to give it,” said Denise Specht, Education Minnesota President. “There simply aren’t enough Minnesotans willing to teach for what districts are paying and the pensions offered by the state."

Specht called the overall shortage of school staff, including educators of color and on mental health teams, "the most serious challenge in public education right now.”

On a positive note, the 2023 report does note that candidates enrolled in teacher education programs in Minnesota are more diverse than the current teaching pool, with 17.14% people of color or Indigenous.

You can read the entire 2023 Supply and Demand of Teachers in Minnesota report here.

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