New York state is heading deeper into a teacher shortage and may need as many as 180,000 new teachers over the coming decade, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said in an interview with the state School Boards Association.
Districts across the state already have a difficult time hiring teachers for a variety of positions, especially special education, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and world language jobs. Education experts expect the shortage to continue, as many teachers who had put off retirement during the Great Recession head for the exits.
"We are having teacher shortages already," Zimpher said in an interview with School Boards Association Executive Director Timoth Kremer, which was later posted online. "We've known this, but it is finally catching up with us."
The number of classroom teachers across the state fell by nearly 11 percent from 2007 to 2015, according to the School Boards Association, and the state has lost more than 26,000 teachers since the 2008-09 school year.
Educators and the deans of Capital Region schools of education have said fewer students have entered teacher education programs in recent years, citing budget cuts that eliminated teacher positions and a contentious political environment as reasons prospective teachers have been turned off from the profession.