NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The cost of being a teacher has long since come at a high cost, but with just weeks left in the fall semester, some are already thinking about calling it quits.
A new Tennessee survey revealed that 60% of Tennessee’s education leaders report difficulty recruiting and retaining teachers. The study also showed that 82% of district leaders reported tight budgets and many said that staffing shortages continue to be “the leading limitations hindering the focus on improving student outcomes.”
“A lot of it stems around students’ behavior and also the amount of openings there are and the lack of subs is putting a lot of stress and extra work on teachers,” explained Michele Sheriff, President of the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association.
TennnesseeCAN conducted its annual district leader survey. Feedback and data show the number of vacancies throughout Middle Tennessee districts has slowly decreased, but still, more work needs to be done.
“I think over the past years or so, we have seen the teacher shortage really hit home,” said Victor Evans, Executive Director with TennesseeCAN. “What district leaders would like to see are, whether it be the teachers or the school leaders, an opportunity for them to grow and flourish and have all the resources they need. I think a lot of what had driven that in the past especially, more recently.”
Currently, there are more than 300 open positions within the Metro Nashville Public School System, and in Clarksville-Montgomery, there are more than 250. Now, new funding in the form of the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement Act could be a major solution.
“There is a lot more flexibility on how those dollars are spent, and so they can contract with an outsource or even train teachers within, use those dollars and help increase a teacher’s salary,” Evans explained.
This year, MNPS increased pay by 8%, Sheriff said, as she explained how it was a major win in order to keep up with inflation. Still, some are urging for more.
“It’s hard for teachers to live in Nashville, especially single teachers with families, it’s hard to afford,” said Sheriff.
TennesseeCAN told News 2, MNPS is among the school districts in line to get TISA funding.